Two explosions in Beirut’s port has rocked the entire city, killing at least 50 people and wounding thousands. A small explosion followed by a larger one, the second one was said to be a massive one. Buildings hundreds of feet away from the site of the explosion have crumbled and windows many miles away have shattered. The sound of the explosion has been heard across the country.
The cause of the explosion was not immediately clear, but the head of the General Security General Abbas Ibrahim has told the media that the explosion was “caused by highly explosive material stored in warehouse.” Ibrahim said that the explosive material was confiscated many years ago.
The size of the explosion raised suspicion that it could’ve occurred as a result of a missile strike or a detonation, deliberate or otherwise. In contradiction to Ibrahim’s account of incident, the health minister of Lebanon said that a ship carrying fireworks had blown up at the port. He said that dozens were wounded but didn’t give any details about the casualties.
According to some news reports, ‘Explosive materials’ were stored at the blast site, and the disaster may have started with a fire at a warehouse.
Many have reported that the blast of the explosion was heard across the country. Videos show a large column of smoke emanating from a large warehouse near the port before a large orange explosion is seen and dome-shaped blast shoots into the air. Currently, the city is canopied by a thick smoke cloud.
The death toll is not clear at the moment, but the rescue agencies have managed to haul 50 people from the rubble of the fallen buildings. Thousands of people have been wounded and transferred to nearby hospitals.
Doctors at the St Joseph’s hospital, some 2km away from the explosion, told the media that hundreds of wounded people were being brought to the hospital for treatment but were unable to receive it as the hospital had been destroyed by the blast.
The explosion occurred at a critical juncture for Lebanon, which is already in an economic crisis that is reigniting the old divisions. Tensions were also high due to the recent verdict of the killing of the ex-Prime Minister Rafik Hariri in 2005.
Lebanon is also under political turmoil. Street demonstrations have surfaced in many cities due to the government’s mishandling of the Covid-induced economic crisis, the worst since the 1975-1990 civil war.
The border tensions with Israel are also high, which claimed that it had thwarted a recent attempt by the Hezbollah, a Shia Islamist political party and a militant organization, to infiltrate the Israeli territory. However, the Israeli officials told the media that they didn’t have any connection with the blast