Skip to comments.Lebanon: Massive explosion in Beirut, at least 50 dead, 1000s injured, Hizballah ‘already in the limelight’
Posted on 08/04/2020 4:26:13 PM PDT by robowombat
Beirut blast: Massive explosion shakes Lebanons capital; at least 50 dead, thousands injured, by Danielle Wallace and Bradford Betz, Fox News, August 4, 2020:
A massive explosion shook Beirut on Tuesday, killing at least 50 people and injuring thousands of others while flattening much of the port, damaging buildings across the capital, and sending a giant mushroom cloud into the sky.
The cause of the explosion remains unclear. The Lebanese Red Cross tweeted that more than 30 teams were responding to the scene of the blast via ambulances.
The health minister said at least 50 people were killed and over 2,700 were injured .
Abbas Ibrahim, chief of Lebanese General Security, said the explosion might have been caused by highly explosive material that was confiscated from a ship some time ago and stored at the port. Local television channel LBC said the material was sodium nitrate .
Witnesses reported seeing a strange orange-colored cloud over the site after the explosion. Orange clouds of toxic nitrogen dioxide gas often accompany an explosion involving nitrates.
Video taken by residents showed a fire raging at the port, sending up a giant column of smoke, illuminated by flashes of what appear to be fireworks. Local TV stations reported that a fireworks warehouse was involved.
The fire then appeared to catch at a nearby building, triggering a more massive explosion, sending up a mushroom cloud and a shock wave.
Hours after the explosion ambulances were still carrying away the wounded. Officials said the citys hospitals were filled to capacity .
The cause of the blast is under investigation but Hezbollah is already in the limelight, multiple intelligence sources told Fox News.
There are cars with dead people in the streets under rubble, and the medical infrastructure was already at full speed due to the pandemic and lack of supplies, one source in the region said.
Another source told Fox News that the port was unofficially controlled by Hezbollah, thus pointing out that other adverse players in the region could have played a role.
An Israeli government official said Israel had nothing to do with the blast. He spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the matter with the media. Israeli officials usually do not comment on foreign reports.
Lebanons PM vows to make officials pay the price after Beirut explosions
Lebanons Prime Minister Hassan Diab vowed to hold certain official responsible for the explosions that took place in Beirut earlier Tuesday.
Addressing the nation after the explosion that has so far killed at least 30 people and injured more than 3,000, Diab said the government would reveal the facts about a dangerous warehouse at the Port of Beirut, which he said was there since 2014.
Diab also pleaded with the international community for assistance after the catastrophe.
I am sending an urgent appeal to friendly and brotherly countries that love Lebanon, to stand by its side and help us treat these deep wounds, Diab said.
english(dot)alarabiya(dot)net/en/News/middle-east/2020/08/04/Lebanon-s-PM-Hassan-Diab-speaks-to-nation-following-Beirut-explosions.html ================================================ NYT
[ ]Highly explosive materials, seized by the government years ago, were stored where the explosions occurred, said Maj. Gen. Abbas Ibrahim, the head of Lebanons general security service, according to the National News Agency.
President Michel Aoun later confirmed that explosive substances were held there. Neither of them said what those materials were, but General Ibrahim warned against getting ahead of the investigation and speculating about a terrorist act.
Prime Minister Hassan Diab said in a televised statement, Facts on this dangerous depot, which has existed since 2014 or the past six years, will be announced.
What happened today will not come to pass without accountability, Mr. Diab said. Those responsible will pay a price for this catastrophe. he said. This is a promise to the martyrs and wounded people. This is a national commitment.
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Campbell MacDiarmid, middle east correspondent Danielle Sheridan, political correspondent 5 AUGUST 2020 12:17AM Follow At least 78 dead and more than 4,000 injured, officials say Fears that thousands of tons of ammonium nitrate were detonated Everything we know so far 'It was like a nuclear explosion': How terrified residents fled the fireball Lebanon's PM: 'Those responsible will pay the price' Massive explosions shook Lebanon's capital Beirut on Tuesday in a blast that has killed 78, with many more fatalities feared to come.
Health Minister Hamad Hasan said an explosion in the centre of the city had injured at least 4,000 people according to "preliminary estimates" and caused extensive damage, Lebanon's LBC television channel quoted the minister as saying.
He said that those who can leave the city should, saying the hazardous materials in the air after the explosion can have long-term deadly effects.
The president of Lebanon said on Twitter that 2,750 tonnes of ammonium nitrate was stored in a warehouse for six years without safety measures.
Lebanon's Prime Minister Hassan Diab said that those responsible for would "pay the price" and appeared to suggest that the warehouse at the epicentre of the blast had been "dangerous".
Firefighters rushed to tackle fires after the enormous blasts
"I promise you that this catastrophe will not pass without accountability," 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."
The blast was so loud that people could hear it in Cyprus.
"I saw a fireball and smoke billowing over Beirut. People were screaming and running, bleeding," said a Reuters witness.
"Balconies were blown off buildings. Glass in high-rise buildings shattered and fell to the street."
Video was shared online of the moment an enormous explosion erupted near the Beirut waterfront, sending an immense shockwave tearing through downtown neighbourhoods.
Moments before, a fire could be seen burning at the base of a billowing grey tower of smoke, apparently from an initial explosion near the port area.
The major blast was preceded by a smaller one ten minutes earlier in the same port area of the city (see the map below).
Local media showed images of bloodied people trapped under rubble following the explosion, the cause of which was not immediately clear.
Hospitals called for blood donations and the Lebanese Red Crescent sent out an alert to paramedics, calling on them to rush to dispatch centres.
Beirut City Governor Marwan Aboud said: "Beirut is a disaster city and the scale of the damage is enormous" and called the blast a "national disaster akin to Hiroshima."
Early reports in local media suggested the incident may have been an accidental explosion of fireworks stored at the port.
A Hizbollah source told Lebanese media that the blast was unrelated to recent tensions between Israel and the militant group on Lebanon's southern border, saying there was "no truth in everything that is being circulated about an Israeli strike on Hizbollah weapons in the port".
The blast damaged balconies and blew out windows miles away, with the explosion heard across the city and some districts losing electricity.
It comes as Lebanon faces its worst financial and economic crisis in decades. The country's powerful Hezbollah movement said all of the country's political powers must unite to overcome the "painful catastrophe".
Video showed damage to the offices of local newspaper the Daily Star, where the ceiling had collapsed and shattered glass and dust covered overturned furniture.
A wounded man is checked by a fireman near the scene A wounded man is checked by a fireman near the scene CREDIT: ANWAR AMRO/AFP VIA GETTY IMAGES "Buildings are shaking," tweeted one resident, while another wrote: "An enormous, deafening explosion just engulfed Beirut. Heard it from miles away".
Boris Johnson tweeted his condolences. "The pictures and videos from Beirut tonight are shocking," the Prime Minister said.
"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."
Auto update On 11:34pm Trump suggests blasts were 'a bomb of some kind' President Trump has said the Beirut blast "looks like a terrible attack" and told reporters at the White House that he met with US generals who believe it was an attack.
Mr Trump then suggested it was a "bomb of some kind".
The cause of the explosions is not yet certain, but Lebanese officials have not suggested that it was an attack.
The US president also said that Washington would provide assistance. "We have a very good relationship with the people of Lebanon and we will be there to help," he said.
11:18pm Emergency budget passed by Lebanese officials Lebanon's Supreme Defence Council has recommended declaring Beirut a disaster-stricken city following a massive explosion, declaring a two-week state of emergency in the capital and handing over security responsibility to military authorities.
President Michel Aoun has decided to release 100 billion Lebanese pounds (about £50 million) in emergency allocations from the 2020 budget.
It also recommended ahead of a Cabinet meeting on Wednesday that a committee be tasked with investigating the blast and present its findings within five days to mete out the maximum punishment for those responsible.
A fund worth about £50 million has been set up for emergency assistance A fund worth about £50 million has been set up for emergency 10:33pm 'Unacceptable levels of ammonium nitrate stored in warehouse' Lebanon's president has said a state of emergency should be declared in Beirut for two weeks.
Michael Aoun, in remarks published on the Presidency Twitter account, said it was "unacceptable" that 2,750 tonnes of ammonium nitrate was stored in a warehouse for six years without safety measures and vowed that those responsible would face the "harshest punishments".
Mr Aoun also called for an emergency cabinet meeting on Wednesday.
10:15pm Lebanese are 'people I hold dear', says Pompeo Mike Pompeo, the US Secretary of State, has said: "Id like to extend my deepest condolences to all those affected by the massive explosion at the port of Beirut today.
"We are closely monitoring and stand ready to assist the people of Lebanon as they recover from this tragedy.
"Our team in Beirut has reported to me the extensive damage to a city and a people that I hold dear, an additional challenge in a time of already deep crisis.
"We understand that the Government of Lebanon continues to investigate its cause and look forward to the outcome of those efforts."
9:56pm 'Thousands of tons of nitrate may have exploded' The Telegraph's Josie Ensor reports that Lebanese media are suggesting that thousands of tons of nitrate may have gone up in the blast.
9:44pm Calls for evacuation over chemical fears The head of the Lebanese American University Hospital is calling for evacuation of Beirut due to the hazardous materials in the air from the explosion.
Lebanons Health Minister has said that those who can leave the city should, saying the remnants of the explosion can have long-term deadly effects.
9:43pm 'It was like a nuclear explosion': How panic-stricken residents fled the fireball A colossal fireball erupted, sending a huge shockwave tearing through entire districts of Beirut and momentarily obscuring the sun, Abbie Cheeseman and Campbell MacDiarmid write.
The force of the blast threw some of the amateur cameramen off their feet. Further out the blastwave tore balconies from apartment buildings miles away.
As dust covered the city, an enormous mushroom cloud rose overhead.
"It was like a nuclear explosion," said Walid Abdo, a 43-year-old school teacher in the neighbourhood of Gemayzeh near Beirut.
Rumbling aftershocks continued for several minutes, as piercing screams rose as bystanders rushed to pull bloodied bodies from the rubble of damaged buildings.
“Mr. President, I think we’ve found one of Saddam’s WMDs.”
Paging “Explosion spell!” girl...
There will be a lot more fatalities when they get the rubble cleared. Some of these buildings - apartment buildings and offices - were literally obliterated.
They havent even begun the body count, IMO.
That is, of the ones they could find.
I think we will never know the exact number of deaths. I suspect many at ground zero were vaporized. And the long term effects of the nitrogen dioxide and dust and other crap being inhaled.
Plus the bulk cargo port suffered epic destruction. Such a facility operates round the clock so there must have been a lot of port workers blown to bits.
Thats 3,600 virgins
Unless this is a very unpopulated area, and the workers in the area got the day off, I expect that casulties will be ten times this, when all is said and done.
“Officials said the citys hospitals were filled to capacity.”
So, anyone that’s been hurt and isn’t in a hospital already, needs to quarantine for 14 days at home so they can flatten the curve.
A previous shortage of bomb and missle technicians leading to an enormous stockpile of explosive materials.
Neither, I believe, is the case. Everything in Beirut is densely packed near every thing else.
They seem to celebrate July 4th a month or so late.
The blast was so loud that people could hear it in Cyprus.
Bad handling, the stuff should have been cut and moved
periodically. But hey, it’s happy where it was...unhunh.
A lot of AN industrial explosions over time so it
wasn’t unknown. just sloppy.
Trump said he has heard it was an attack..wait for the media to call this an accident because ya know how it is, whatever Trump says, they gotta say the opposite
If it is true that this huge dump of nitrate had been left unattended for years then the blast could have been caused by static electric discharge or just chemical deterioration. US liability lawyers are already streaming towards Beirut if Bhopal is any indication.
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