Beirut double explosion has experts mystified as scores hurt (UPDATE)
Two large explosion rocked Beirut on Tuesday, killing at least 50 civilians and injuring more than 3,000 people as glass shattered and balconies collapsed from the impact.
Lebanon’s state news agency NNA and two security sources said the blast had occurred in the port area where there are warehouses housing explosives. It was not immediately clear what caused the blast or what kind of explosives were in the warehouses.
Multiple videos from the area showed a plume of smoke rising from near the coastline and then a large blast and shockwave. Buildings throughout the area were damaged in the blast, including media offices and Lebanon’s electrical company.
“I saw a fireball and smoke billowing over Beirut. People were screaming and running, bleeding. Balconies were blown off buildings. Glass in high-rise buildings shattered and fell to the street,” said a witness.
Local broadcaster LBC quoted the health minister as saying there was a “very high number” of injures and a large amount of damage. Al Mayadeen television said hundreds were wounded.
Another witness said she saw heavy grey smoke near the port area and then heard an explosion and saw flames of fire and black smoke: “All the downtown area windows are smashed and there are wounded people walking around. It is total chaos.”
Lebanese President Michel Aoun called the Supreme Council of Defense for an emergency meeting on Tuesday evening. Ambulances were called in from around the country and the Lebanese Army sent reinforcements to the area. Some 30 Red Cross teams are operating in the area. Lebanese citizens were asked to donate blood if possible and doctors were asked to come immediately and help treat the wounded.
Source: various sources