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After Explosion, U.S. Military Planes Deliver Aid to Beirut

Aug. 6, 2020 | BY C. Todd Lopez , DOD News

The United States is sending humanitarian aid, including food, water and medical supplies, to Beirut to provide much-needed assistance in the aftermath of a massive explosion in the Lebanese capital, the chief Pentagon spokesman said.

"We ... want to express the department's sympathies in mourning the lives of so many lost in Lebanon on Tuesday. This is a horrific tragedy," Jonathan Rath Hoffman said during a Pentagon news conference today.

23:38

Hoffman said Marine Corps Gen. Kenneth F. McKenzie Jr., commander of U.S. Central Command, has talked with the commander of the Lebanese armed forces to inform him that three C-17 aircraft will bring relief supplies to Lebanon.

The first C-17 Globemaster III aircraft has already arrived in Beirut to deliver supplies, a Centcom statement said today. Included in those supplies are 11 pallets of food, water and medical supplies.

Military personnel use loading equipment to move supplies.
Supply Prep
Personnel at Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar, prepare relief supplies for shipment to Beirut, Aug. 6, 2020. Marine Corps Gen. Kenneth F. McKenzie Jr., commander of U.S. Central Command, spoke with the commander of the Lebanese armed forces to inform him that three C-17 aircraft will bring relief supplies to Lebanon following an Aug. 4 explosion there.
Photo By: U.S. Central Command
VIRIN: 200806-F-VH373-0070C
Military personnel use loading equipment to move supplies.
Relief Supplies
Personnel at Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar, prepare relief supplies for shipment to Beirut, Aug. 6, 2020. Marine Corps Gen. Kenneth F. McKenzie Jr., commander of U.S. Central Command, spoke with the commander of the Lebanese armed forces to inform him that three C-17 aircraft will bring relief supplies to Lebanon following an Aug. 4 explosion there.
Photo By: U.S. Central Command
VIRIN: 200806-F-VH373-0043C

Over the next 24 hours, the Centcom statement  said, two additional C-17s will depart Al Udeid Air Base in Qatar to deliver additional supplies to Beirut.

Hoffman said the Defense Department will continue to work with the State Department of State and the U.S. Agency for International Development on any additional aid missions.

A service member approaches the staircase attached to a large military aircraft.
Globemaster III
An Air Force C-17 Globemaster III pilot assigned to the 816th Expeditionary Airlift Squadron boards a C-17 at Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar, Jan. 10, 2020. C-17s such as this one are delivering relief supplies to Beirut following an explosion there Aug. 4, 2020.
Photo By: Air Force Staff Sgt. Daniel Snider
VIRIN: 200110-F-EJ242-0278C

The exact cause of the Aug. 4 explosion in Beirut is not known, Hoffman said, but the Lebanese government is investigating and the U.S government is ready to assist if asked.

"The investigation into the explosion is ongoing. We're going to defer to and give the Lebanese government space to complete their investigation and reach their conclusions," he said. "We're going to work with them. If they ask for assistance, the U.S. would be willing to provide that."