Massive explosion in Beirut kills at least 100, injures 4,000

August 5, 2020 - 1:19

Two huge blasts at Beirut port that devastated entire neighborhoods of the city have killed more than 100 people and injured over 4,000, the Lebanese Red Cross said on Wednesday.

A warehouse at the Beirut Port caught fire on Tuesday afternoon, triggering a huge explosion, Lebanon’s official National News Agency (NNA) reported.

Several smaller explosions were heard before the bigger one occurred.

Abbas Ibrahim, the head of Lebanon’s General Security, said that “highly explosive materials” confiscated earlier had been stored at the site.

Footage shared on social media captured the moment of the bigger explosion, with a colossal shock wave seen traveling fast across several hundreds of meters and shrouding the area in thick smoke.

The blast left enormous material damage to the surrounding buildings and structures.

Graphic amateur video from the scene showed bodies strewn on the ground, with their clothes blown off.

The NNA said rescue operations were underway. Ambulances were seen heading toward the scene in central Beirut.

Lebanese LBC television channel quoted Lebanon’s Health Minister Hamad Hasan as saying that the blast had caused a “very high number of injuries” and “extensive damage.”

Beirut Governor Marwan Abboud said an unspecified number of firefighters dispatched to extinguish the initial fire had been killed in the explosion.

“As they were putting out the fire, the explosion took place and we’ve [lost them],” he said, breaking down on live TV.

The explosion comes at a time when the country is passing through its worst economic and financial crisis in decades, and amid rising tensions with Israel.

Sodium Nitrate confiscated from a ship a year ago and stored in a warehouse could have caused today's explosion in Beirut, Reports Say.

Sodium nitrate confiscated from one of the ships over a year ago could have exploded causing the massive deadly explosion on Tuesday in the port of Beirut, the Lebanese LBCI TV channel reported, citing sources.

Earlier in the day, the head of the Lebanese General Security Directorate, Gen. Abbas Ibrahim, refuted the version of pyrotechnics exploding in the port of Beirut, saying that these were other explosives that had been stored for a long time.

According to the LBCI’s sources, Ibrahim was talking about confiscated sodium nitrate.

Disaster Akin to Hiroshima

Meanwhile, Beirut Governor called the devastating explosion a 'National Disaster Akin to Hiroshima.'

Iran's reaction

"Our thoughts and prayers are with the great and resilient people of Lebanon. As always, Iran is fully prepared to render assistance in any way necessary. Stay strong, Lebanon," Iran's foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif tweeted.
Special Aide on International Affairs of the Islamic Parliament and former MFA Deputy for Arab and African Affairs Hossein Amirabdollahian tweeted, "Extremely saddened for the explosion in Beirut Port. My sincerest condolences & sympathy to all my dear brothers & sisters in #Lebanon. May the Almighty grant patience to the bereaved & swift recovery for the wounded people. Ready to deliver any assistance!"

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