Charges in Beirut port blast stir controversy in Lebanon

BEIRUT (AP) — Lebanon’s militant Hezbollah group says charges filed against the caretaker prime minister over the Beirut port explosion are political targeting. The group said on Friday the charges lack legal and constitutional basis. Lebanon’s grand mufti, the top cleric for Sunni Muslims, and Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri also expressed similar criticism. The Hezbollah-backed prime minister resigned in the wake of the August explosion. He remains in his post in a caretaker capacity, as Lebanese officials have failed to agree on a new Cabinet. Thursday’s decision to charge senior officials was significant as a culture of impunity has prevailed in Lebanon for decades, including among the entrenched political elites.