Two large explosions rocked Beirut port Tuesday afternoon, killing dozens, wounding hundreds and inflicting large scale damage to many parts of the capital, witnesses said.
The cause of the explosions was not immediately clear as two large clouds rose over the port area.
At least 10 were reported dead by Reuters’ security and medical sources. The head of Lebanese Red Cross said there were hundreds of hundreds and have been taken to hospitals for treatment. Others are still trapped in their homes.
General Security Chief Abbas Ibrahim in a visit to the explosion site said, “We cannot rush the investigation but there seems to have been material stored years ago. The word 'fireworks' is laughable. There is high explosive material that had been seized.”
The explosion was heard as far as Cyrpus, according to Cypriot media.
Health Minister Hamad Hasan said there is a high likelihood of a number of injuries. Televised footage of downtown Beirut and the port area show catastrophic damage to infrastructure and buildings.
Debris and glass covered the streets of Downtown Beirut. Cars and building windows were shattered. Electricity was completely shut off along Beirut’s Gemmayze and Mar Mikhael which suffered heavy damage to homes and properties.
“My apartment is completely gone,” Elie, 26, told The Daily Star. He lives in Beirut’s Gietawi, around 2 kilometers from Beirut’s port.
“The explosion was unlike anything I’ve ever felt before. I ducked to the ground, my ears were ringing. I didn’t know when it would stop,” Elie added.
Video footage circulating social media show a large explosion at Beirut’s port.
Israeli officials said Israel had nothig to do with the explosion in Beirut.
U.N. spokesman Farhan Haq told reporters it was not immediately clear what the cause was, and that there was no indication of any injuries to any U.N. personnel.
"We do not have information about what has happened precisely, what has caused this, whether it’s accidental or manmade act," he said.
The U.S. Pentagon said: "We are aware of the explosion and are concerned for the potential loss of life due to such a massive explosion."
Copyright © 2020, The Daily Star. All rights reserved.