Some 40 Lebanese lawmakers on Friday became the latest group to back the judge investigating the catastrophic 2020 Beirut port blast and call for the country’s top prosecutor to be held accountable for steps taken against the judge and his probe.

Judge Tarek Bitar on Monday resumed his probe into the blast that killed more than 220 people after a 13-month suspension caused by legal wrangling and high-level political pressure.

He issued charges against senior security, political and judicial officials, including top public prosecutor Ghassan Oueidat.

Though previously recused from the case due to a conflict of interest, Oueidat filed charges against Bitar for allegedly mishandling the inquiry and released the remaining 17 detainees still held over the investigation.

The group of lawmakers backing Bitar represents under a third of Lebanon’s 128-member legislature and includes independent MPs backed by civil society groups, the Kataeb party and the Christian Lebanese Forces party. — Reuters