Lebanon's prime minister announced his government's resignation today, saying a huge explosion that devastated the capital and stirred public outrage was the result of endemic corruption.

In a televised address, Prime Minister Hassan Diab said he backed calls by ordinary Lebanese for those responsible for "this crime" to be put on trial.

The 4 August port warehouse detonation of more than 2,000 tonnes of ammonium nitrate killed at least 163 people, injured over 6,000 and destroyed swathes of the bustling Mediterranean capital, compounding months of political and economic meltdown.

Beirut port explosion

Mr Diab made the announcement after the cabinet, formed in January with the backing of the powerful Iranian-backed Hezbollah group and its allies, met today, with many ministers wanting to resign, according to ministerial and political sources.

Mr Diab had said on Saturday he would request early parliamentary elections.

Demonstrations broke out again in central Beirut today, with some protesters hurling rocks at security forces guarding an entrance leading to the parliament building who then responded with tear gas.

For many ordinary Lebanese, the explosion was the last straw in a protracted crisis over the collapse of the economy, corruption, waste and dysfunctional governance, and they have taken to the streets demanding root-and-branch change.

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The information and environment ministers quit on Sunday as well as several politicians, and the justice minister followed them out the door earlier today.

Lebanon's president had previously said explosive material was stored unsafely for years at the port. He later said the investigation would consider whether the cause was external interference as well as negligence or an accident.

The Lebanese army said today that another five bodies were pulled from the rubble with the help of Russian and French rescue teams, raising the death toll to 163.

Beirut's governor said many foreign workers and truck drivers remained missing and were assumed to be among the casualties, complicating efforts to identify the victims.