(Elias Marat) The Lebanese capital city of Beirut is reeling after at least one massive explosion followed by a tremendous shockwave left dozens of buildings damaged, at least 3,000 injured and 50 people killed, according to Lebanon’s health minister.
by Elias Marat, August 4th, 2020
Local officials have debunked initial reports that the huge blast late Tuesday afternoon was caused by an accident at a fireworks factory. The precise cause of the blast remains yet to be determined.
Lebanese internal security chief Abbas Ibrahim has said that the blast came from a section of the port where a warehouse of high-explosive materials including ammonium nitrate was located.
Wednesday has been declared a day of mourning throughout Lebanon.
Prime Minister Hassan Diab has vowed that anyone found responsible for the blasts at the warehouse will be held accountable.
Videos of the explosion shared to social media show a number of small explosions and a column of smoke rising in the air before a gigantic fireball bursts upward, followed by a much larger explosion that sent a huge shockwave through the surrounding area as well as a mushroom cloud into the air. Social media users as far as Cyprus reportedly felt the tremors of the gigantic blast.
City Governor Marwan Abboud has described the city as a “disaster area” and the scale of destruction as “enormous,” while medical and security sources have confirmed at least 10 people are dead.
Abboud wept before cameras about the fate of first responders who arrived at the fire before the explosion ripped through the port and impacted the surrounding high-rise hotels, apartment complexes, and office buildings.
“They came to fight the fire, and then they vanished,” Abboud said. “We don’t know where they are. We’re here to look for them.
The United Nations tribunal trying the case is due to issue its verdict over the killing on Friday. The UN and Lebanon established the Special Tribunal for Lebanon in The Hague in 2007, which ultimately charged Hezbollah with acts of terrorism, murder and attempted murder.
However, the political party with its own formidable armed militia has dismissed the trial as biased and catering to the will of hostile forces.
Media reports indicate that a possible second explosion is said to have taken place at the Hariri residence in the city.
The deadly explosion also comes after the resistance group was allegedly involved in small clashes with Israeli forces near the disputed Shebaa Farms region of Lebanon, which Israeli occupying forces captured during the 1967 war. Hezbollah officials accuse the Israelis of “fabricating” the clashes, however, as a means to kick up tension and cast the group as aggressors.
Israeli officials have denied any role in the explosion.
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