More than 70 people have been confirmed to have died in the explosion and around 2,750 injured, a Lebanese Health minister confirmed. Many remain trapped inside their homes. An Israeli official says they had nothing to do with the explosion. Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has confirmed one Australian was killed in the explosion.
Horrific video footage has emerged of a massive explosion in Beirut.
One resident said they had been left “covered in blood and glass” following the blast. Some video footage on social media showed residents in tears with homes destroyed.
The explosion was strong enough for people in Cyprus reporting two large bangs in quick succession.
Beirut airport, which lies six miles away from where the explosion happened, has been left in ruins following the blasts.
Huge blast in Lebanon leaves people ‘covered in blood and glass’
Hundreds believed to be injured in the explosion
Footage shows a white cloud rise into the sky but black smoke with red flames is seen. It is believed to be the second explosion in the city.
According to reports, hospitals in the city are turning away injured people with blood streaming down their faces because they’re too full or damaged to take them in.
Abby Sewell, a freelance journalist, tweeted: “Hospitals overwhelmed after Beirut explosion. In Geitawi, medical staff treating patients in a parking lot.”
Joyce Cameron, from the National, said: “Many houses damaged, injuries reported. First was at Port. This is closer to downtown.
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Two explosions occurred in the city
“Two explosions near port in Beirut #Lebanon , second one left lot of damages in houses and cars. Ambulances called to area.”
Lebanese media claim the explosion happened in a fireworks warehouse.
Fireworks can be seen exploding in footage spread across social media.
The bigger explosion reportedly caused most of the damage.
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Buildings have been destroyed in the explosion
UN spokesperson Farhan Haq told reporters the cause of the explosion is not known but confirmed no UN personnel were injured.
He said: “We do not have information about what has happened precisely, what has caused this, whether it’s accidental or manmade act.”
Yara Khaweja, who works form the International Committee of the Red Cross, urged people to donate blood to help with the injured.
The Lebanese Red Cross is also requesting only people in “critical or severe cases” to call their emergency number.
Hundreds of people who were injured in the Beirut port blast were taken to hospitals but many remain trapped in homes damaged by the explosion, the head of the Lebanese Red Cross said.
Following years of disputes and conflicts, Israel has ruled out having anything to do with the explosion.
Israeli’s Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi told Israeli N12 television news: “Israel has nothing to do with the incident.”
Mr Ashkenazi believes the accident was caused by a fire.
Extensive damage caused due to the explosion
Lebanese Prime Minister Hassan Diab said 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.”
Israel offered humanitarian assistance to Lebanon following the massive explosion, Israeli Defence Minister Benny Gantz said.
People are seen walking through dust clouds
“Israel has approached Lebanon through international security and diplomatic channels and has offered the Lebanese government medical and humanitarian assistance,” a written statement from Gantz and Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi said.
Footage shows cars have been abandoned and damaged as rocks hurled through the air during the explosion. Windows were reportedly blown out of buildings and ceilings collapsed.
The US State Department is closely following reports of an explosion and stands ready to offer ‘all possible assistance’, a spokesperson for the agency said.
Hezbollah, the Shia Islamist political party and militant group based in Lebanon, has said all of the country’s political powers must to overcome the “painful catastrophe” unite following the explosion.
The city has been left in ruins and devastation
Mr Diab has declared Wednesday a day of national mourning in the aftermath of the massive explosion, the national broadcaster TeleLiban reported.
Major General Abbas Ibrahim, of Lebanon’s General Security Directorate, said the massive blast was caused by confiscated “high explosive materials.”
It would be “naive to describe such an explosion as due to fireworks,” Ibrahim told Lebanese TV.
The city’s governor Marwan Abboud added at least 10 firefighters working for Beirut’s municipality are missing.
Buildings were destroyed in the explosion
Mr Abboud said: “They came to fight the fire, and then they vanished. We don’t know where they are. We’re here to look for them.
“This reminds me of what happened in Japan, to Hiroshima and Nagasaki. I’ve never seen damage of this size and width, and so catastrophic.
“This is a national catastrophe. This is a problem for Lebanon, and we don’t know how we’re going to get out of it.
“This is a lot. It’s a lot all at once for people…”
Beirut destroyed in the horrifying explosion
Foreign Minister of Islamic Republic of Iran, Javad Zarif, said Iran is ready to help Lebanon in any way necessary.
He tweeted: “Our thoughts and prayers are with the great and resilient people of Lebanon.
“As always, Iran is fully prepared to render assistance in any way necessary.
“Stay strong, Lebanon.”
The port has been completely destroyed
Prime Minister Boris Johnson offered support for British nationals affected by the explosion.
He tweeted: “The pictures and videos from Beirut tonight are shocking. All of my thoughts and prayers are with those caught up in this terrible incident.
“The UK is ready to provide support in any way we can, including to those British nationals affected.”
Canada’s Justin Trudeau tweeted: “Absolutely tragic news coming out of Beirut.
“Canadians are thinking of everyone who has been injured and all those who are trying to locate a friend or family member or have lost a loved one. We’re keeping you in our thoughts and we stand ready to assist in any way we can.”
Countries have vowed to provide aid to Lebanon
The US embassy in Beirut has issued a statement following the explosion.
It says: “We encourage citizens in the affected area(s) to monitor local news, follow the emergency instructions provided by local authorities, enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program at step.state.gov to receive important emergency information, and follow us on Twitter and Facebook for additional updates.
“There are reports of toxic gases released in the explosion so all in the area should stay indoors and wear masks if available.
“We urge US citizens in the affected areas who are safe to contact their loved ones directly and/or update their status on social media.”
The city has been left in ruins
Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab tweeted: “My thoughts and prayers are with those affected by the devastating explosion in #Beirut today.
“The UK stands in solidarity with the people of Lebanon and is ready to offer help and support including to those British nationals impacted.”
French President, Emmanuel Macron, also tweeted: “I express my fraternal solidarity with the Lebanese after the explosion which caused so many victims and damage this evening in Beirut.
“France stands alongside Lebanon. Always. French aid and resources are being delivered to the site.”
The explosion could be seen for miles
This comes ahead of verdict in trial over killing of ex-Prime Minister Rafic Hariri in 2005.
The BBC reported the UN tribunal is due to issue its verdict in the trial of four suspects in the murder by car bomb of Hariri.
All four are members of the Iranian-backed Hezbollah group, which has consistently denied any role in Hariri’s death.
They are being tried in absentia and the verdict is due on Friday.
Cars left abandoned and destroyed in the explosion
His assassination was a catalyst for dramatic political change in Lebanon.
The massive protests of the Cedar Revolution helped achieve the withdrawal of Syrian troops and security forces from Lebanon, and a change in governments.
Beirut is Lebanon’s seat of government and plays a centrol role in the economy with most banks and corporations based around various regions.
During the Lebanese Civil War in 1975, Beirut was divided between the Muslim west part and the Christian east.
Glass was blown out of buildings in the explosion
Since the civil war, Lebanon and Israel have engaged in multiple military clashes.
Israel withdrew from most of Lebanon in 1985, but kept control of a 12-mile security buffer zone.
Hostilities were suspended in September 2006.
As of 2015, the situation remained generally calm, despite both sides violating the ceasefire agreements; Israel by making near-daily overflights over Lebanese territory, and Hezbollah by not disarming.
Source Daily Express :: World Feed