Massive Explosion Shakes Beirut

A large explosion struck the port of Beirut Tuesday afternoon, in the heart of the Lebanese capital. The blast wave from the explosion overturned vehicles, shattered windows and damaged buildings several kilometers away.

Some reports from the ground suggest that the blast was felt and heard almost 20-35km away from Beirut.

Lebanon’s Prime Minister Hassan Diab said that those responsible for an explosion at a warehouse in the Beirut port area that rocked the capital would pay the price.

“I promise you that this catastrophe will not pass without accountability. … Those responsible will pay the price,” he declared in a televised speech. “Facts about this dangerous warehouse that has been there since 2014 will be announced and I will not preempt the investigations”.

According to news agency Reuters, the massive explosion killed more than 25 people, injuring over 2,500 others.

“A security source said victims were being taken for treatment outside the city because Beirut hospitals were already packed with wounded. Red Cross ambulances from the north and south of the country and the Bekaa valley to the east were called in to cope with the huge casualty toll,” Reuters reported.

Lebanese President Michael Aoun has called the Supreme Defence Council for an urgent emergency meeting in Baabda Palace.

“At least 10 bodies were taken to hospitals … The Lebanese Red Cross said hundreds of people were taken to hospitals for treatment,” news agency Reuters reported.

Official reports claim the explosion was a result of fireworks which had malfunctioned, however social media users have said the port was targeted and a fuel ship was struck. Unconfirmed reports by local media suggest that the explosion took place in an area of the port used to store fireworks.

 

Source: The Palestine Chronicle