Death toll from the blast in Beirut reach 135 - UPDATED

Death toll from the blast in Beirut reach 135 - UPDATED
  • Clock-gray 19:56
  • calendar-gray 05 August 2020

The number of killed people as a result of blast the Lebanese capital, Beirut, reached 113, APA reports citing RİA Novosti.

About 5,000 people were injured in the blast.

***18:12

The number of killed people as a result of blast the Lebanese capital, Beirut, reached 113, said Health Minister Hamad Hassan, APA reports Arabia TV channel.

The minister said about 4,000 people were injured in the blast.

***09:52

The death toll from a powerful explosion in the port of Beirut has increased, APA reports citing France Press. 

As a result of the explosion, the number of death cases has exceeded 100.

***03:06

A powerful blast in port warehouses near central Beirut storing highly explosive material killed 78 people, injured nearly 4,000 and sent seismic shockwaves that shattered windows, smashed masonry and shook the ground across the Lebanese capital, APA reports quoting Reuters.

Officials said they expected the death toll to rise further after Tuesday’s blast as emergency workers dug through rubble to rescue people and remove the dead. It was the most powerful explosion in years in Beirut, which is already reeling from an economic crisis and a surge in coronavirus infections. 

President Michel Aoun said that 2,750 tonnes of ammonium nitrate, used in fertilisers and bombs, had been stored for six years at the port without safety measures, and said it was “unacceptable”. 

He called for an emergency cabinet meeting on Wednesday and said a two-week state of emergency should be declared.

01:06

The Lebanese health ministry says at least 73 people have been killed while 3,700 are wounded in a massive explosion at the port in the capital, Beirut, APA reports quoting Al Jazeera.

The explosion released a shockwave causing widespread damage to buildings and shattering windows in different parts of the city.

The exact cause of the explosion was not immediately clear. Mohammed Fahmi, Lebanon's interior minister, said it was apparently caused by ammonium nitrate that was stored in a warehouse at the port.

00:03

Lebanese authorities say at least 63 people have been killed and 2,700 are wounded in a massive explosion at the port in the capital, Beirut, APA reports quoting Al Jazeera.

The explosion released a shockwave causing widespread damage to buildings and shattering windows in different parts of the city.

The exact cause of the explosion was not immediately clear. Mohammed Fahmi, Lebanon's interior minister, said it was apparently caused by ammonium nitrate that was stored in a warehouse at the port.

***

A large blast in the Lebanese capital, Beirut, has killed at least 50 people and injured more than 2,700 others, the health minister says, APA reports quoting BBC.

It is not yet clear what caused the explosion. Videos show smoke billowing from a fire before the blast, which is followed by a mushroom cloud. 

Hospitals are said to be overwhelmed and many buildings have been destroyed.

Lebanon's internal security chief said the blast happened in an area housing highly explosive materials.

A BBC journalist at the scene reported dead bodies and severe damage, enough to put the port of Beirut out of action.

The explosion comes at a sensitive time for Lebanon, with an economic crisis reigniting old divisions. Tensions are also high ahead of Friday's verdict in a trial over the killing of ex-Prime Minister Rafik Hariri in 2005.

Officials are pointing to an accident rather than a deliberate act as a possible cause. 

The interior minister said first reports suggested what he called explosive material stored at the port had blown up. 

Prime Minister Hassan Diab called it a catastrophe and said those responsible must be held to account. 

He spoke of a "dangerous warehouse" which had been there since 2014, but said he would not pre-empt the investigation. 

Local media showed people trapped beneath rubble. A witness described the first explosion as deafening, and video footage showed wrecked cars and blast-damaged buildings. 

"All the buildings around here have collapsed. I'm walking through glass and debris everywhere, in the dark," one witness near the port told AFP news agency. 

The blast was heard 240km (150 miles) away on the island of Cyprus in the eastern Mediterranean. 

President Michel Aoun called for an emergency meeting of the Supreme Defence Council, the presidency said on Twitter. Wednesday has been declared a day of mourning. 

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson 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."

 

***

A car bomb exploded on a crowded street in a poor Muslim neighborhood today, killing at least 30 people in the worst such attack in Lebanon in more than six years, police said, APA reports quoting Associated Press. 

A blast in the Lebanese capital injured more than 2,500 others, the health minister says, BBC reported.

It is not yet clear what caused the explosion in the port region. Videos posted online showed a column of smoke followed by a large mushroom cloud.

The wounded included former Prime Minister Shafik Wazzan, who was passing through the area in his bulletproof car. Police said Wazzan, who served from 1980-84, was hospitalized and later discharged. It was not clear if he was a target of the attack. 

The bomb - estimated to carry 220 pounds of TNT - destroyed buildings and caused fires near an intersection filled with fruit-and-vegetable vendors and shoppers. A six-foot-deep crater was left on Mamoun Street in the mostly Muslim district of Basta. 

It was the bloodiest car bombing since June 18, 1985, when a blast outside a popular ice cream parlor in Lebanon’s northern port of Tripoli killed 60 people and wounded 110. 

Meanwhile, more violence occurred in south Lebanon, where Shiite Muslim guerrillas ambushed Israeli-backed forces and killed one soldier, police sources said. Later, two explosions blew apart a checkpoint on the edge of Israel’s self-proclaimed ″security zone.″ 

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the car bombing, the first since early November and the fourth this year. Such attacks usually go unclaimed in Beirut. 

But the blast may have been intended to set back government efforts to reestablish control in Lebanon after 15 years of civil war, said police sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity. It also may have been carried out to protest the Syrian army’s presence in Beirut. 

The Syrian army, which has 40,000 soldiers in Lebanon, maintained a road checkpoint 200 yards from the blast site. 

The explosion occurred one block from barracks where pro-Iranian Shiite Muslim fundamentalists once held Western hostages. 

Car bombings became common during Lebanon’s civil war, which ended in October 1990 with the defeat of rebel Christian Gen. Michel Aoun. 

Authorities in Beirut said at least 30 people were killed in the car bombing. Military magistrate Nadim Tarabieh said 60 people were treated and discharged at hospitals and 60 others remained there hours after the 9:45 a.m. blast. 

Five buildings sustained severe damage. Police officers on the scene said at least three people were believed buried beneath the rubble.

***

At least 10 bodies have been taken to hospitals following a massive explosion in Beirut’s port area, a Lebanese security source and a medical source told Reuters, APA reports.

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