Beirut explosion: more than 70 dead and 3,500 wounded.August 5, 2020
Beirut explosion: more than 70 dead and 3,500 wounded, says Lebanon health ministry
The blast, at 6:08pm local time on Tuesday, was so powerful it was felt in Cyprus, 120 miles away.
It left cars with blown out windows strewn on highways and a city in shock. Footage posted on social media showed whole neighbour hoods in ruins.
The blast struck with the force of a 3.5 magnitude earthquake, according to Germanys geosciences center GFZ, and it was heard and felt as far away as Cyprus more than 200KM (180 miles) across the Mediterranean.
Though the cause of the explosion has yet to be officially determined, President Donald Trump called it a “terrible attack” based on the suspicions of U.S. generals he did not name.
“I’ve met with some of our great generals and they just feel it was,”Trump said at a White House press conference where he offered condolences and assistance to the Lebanon people. “It was a bomb of some kind.”
The US president, however, did not present any evidence to back his claim.
Abbas Ibrahim, chief of Lebanese General Security, said the blast might have been caused by highly explosive material that was stored at the port after it was confiscated from a ship.
The United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) said one of its ships docked at the port was damaged in the explosion, leaving a number of its personnel wounded, including some in critical condition.
UNIFIL said it was transporting the wounded peacekeepers to the nearest hospitals and was assessing the situation, including the scale of the impact on its personnel.
“We are with the people and the Government of Lebanon during this difficult time and stand ready to help and provide any assistance and support,” Major General Del Col, UNIFIL head of mission and force commander, said in a statement.
After the council meeting at the Baabda presidential palace, which was also attended by Prime Minister Hassan Diab, the following was announced:
– An investigation committee has been tasked to say who was responsible for the blast within five days.
– The families of victims will be paid compensation.
– Import traffic will be routed to the Tripoli port in northern Lebanon.
This image, taken by a drone, shows a destroyed events and exhibition hall near the scene of an explosion. Across the city, shop and apartment windows were blown out and streets covered with broken glass.
Lebanon’s Prime Minister Hassan Diab has said that those responsible for an explosion at a “dangerous” warehouse in 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 said 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.”
Al Jazeera’s Timour Azhari reaching the Beirut port shortly after the explosion, said the site looks like a “wasteland” with debris seen everywhere.
“Cars [from the ground] were thrown three floors up onto roofs of factories here,” Azhari said.
“Rescue services have not been able to reach the actual site of the explosion yet because fires are still raging. Helicopters are circling the area trying to extinguish the fire.
“It really was an incredible explosion. People here are saying that they have never seen anything like it.
Even on the way here the roads were covered in glass,” Azhari said.