US Secretary of Defense Mark Esper indicated he believes the massive blast in Beirut was an accident, seeming to contradict President Donald Trump who had floated the possibility of an attack.
"Most believe it was an accident as reported," Esper said on Wednesday during a virtual appearance at the Aspen Security Forum. He expressed his condolences and said the US was ready to offer assistance.
On Tuesday, just hours after the blast, Trump had cited unnamed "generals" who he claimed "seem to feel" the incident was an attack. The president never brought evidence for the allegation.
At least 135 people are dead and about 5,000 were injured in the explosion in the Lebanese capital, which local authorities say was caused by the improper storage of 2,750 tons of ammonium nitrate at the port.