A massive explosion in the Lebanese capital of Beirut has left many people dead and destroyed the home of the former prime minister. The Future Movement Party confirmed that ex-PM Saad Hariri is safe, but the country’s health minister said the blasts had caused a ‘very high number of injuries’ and huge damage.
This is horrific, and the clearest video I’ve seen so far of what seems to have happened in Beirut. There’s a smaller fire involving what seems to be fireworks first, and then everything goes up. pic.twitter.com/qsEmH1IbUi
— Rachael Venables (@rachaelvenables) August 4, 2020
Medical sources told Reuters that at least 10 people been killed by the explosion, which appeared to follow a fire – the cause of which is unknown – at the port.
“I saw a fireball and smoke billowing over Beirut. People were screaming and running, bleeding. Balconies were blown off buildings. Glass in high-rise buildings shattered and fell to the street,” said a Reuters witness.
The Telegraph reports,
Video shared online the moment an enormous explosion erupted near the Beirut waterfront, sending an immense shockwave tearing through downtown neighborhoods. Moments before a fire could be seen burning at the base of a billowing grey tower of smoke apparently from an initial explosion near the port area.
Local media showed images of blooded people trapped under rubble following the explosion, the cause of which was not immediately clear.
Hospitals called for blood donations and the Lebanese Red Crescent sent out an alert to paramedics, calling on them to rush to dispatch centers.
— Joe Truzman (@Jtruzmah) August 4, 2020
Early reports in local media suggested the incident may have been an accidental explosion of fireworks stored at the port.
A Hizbollah source told Lebanese media the blast was unrelated to recent tensions between Israel and the militant group on Lebanon’s southern border, saying there was “no truth in everything that is being circulated about an Israeli strike on Hizbollah weapons in the port.”
The blast damaged balconies and blew out windows miles away, with the explosion heard across the city and some districts losing electricity.
It comes as Lebanon faces its worst financial and economic crisis in decades.
Video showed damage to the offices of local newspaper the Daily Star, where the ceiling had collapsed and shattered glass and dust covered overturned furniture.
H/T The Telegraph