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U.S. has not totally ruled out that Beirut blast was an attack: White House aide

FILE PHOTO: White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows speaks to reporters in the U.S. Capitol in Washington, U.S. July 29, 2020. REUTERS/Erin Scott

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows said on Wednesday that the U.S. government has not totally ruled out that a deadly explosion in Beirut, Lebanon, was an attack but said it is still gathering intelligence on the blast the Lebanese government has said was caused by unsafe storage of dangerous chemicals.

“Hopefully it was just a tragic accident and not an act of terror, but we’re still looking at all the intel on that,” Meadows said in a CNN interview after being asked about President Donald Trump’s Tuesday night comments that the explosion was likely a bomb.

Reporting by Lisa Lambert and Patricia Zengerle; Editing by Sandra Maler