A two-week state of emergency declared in Lebanon • A newspaper close to Hezbollah: The detonated warehouse contained about 2,700 tons of improperly stored ammonia • The Red Cross in Lebanon: "Huge catastrophe" • Security source in Lebanon: "The explosion - following welding work carried out at the site"
Port of Beirut the morning after the explosion, today
A man pushes a baby stroller with his son against the backdrop of the ruins in Beirut, today
Billions of dollars in damage. Beirut, today
100 people were killed and close to 4,000 people were injured in an explosion last night (Tuesday) at a port in the capital Beirut, and according to the country's Red Cross secretary, the death toll is expected to rise as many trapped are still under the rubble. A two-week state of emergency has been declared.
State television in the state reported that the state rescue authorities believe that a large number of other victims are buried under the rubble in neighborhoods close to the center of the explosion at the port in the days of the city.
According to the Lebanese newspaper Al-Akhbar close to Hezbollah, the intensity of the explosion was so great that it could be compared to the power of a tactical nuclear bomb. It is estimated that the damage in Beirut will reach billions of dollars. According to the Lebanese Interior Minister, in the No. 12 warehouse where the explosion took place, 2,700 tons of the chemical compound ammonia were stored in the last six months neglected and without proper packaging and storage, leading to an explosion worth between 600 and 800 tons of TNT. Lebanese President Michel Aoun said the ammonia was stored instead of fertilizer and weapons, stored in a warehouse for six years without maintaining the required safety measures: "This is not acceptable." He called for an urgent cabinet meeting today.
The explosion at a port in Beirut
Sources in Lebanon could not say what caused the spark that led to the explosion. A security source in the state and local media said the spark was created following welding work carried out by a guy who was in a warehouse. A source in the Lebanese defense establishment said that near the ammonia warehouse were toxic waste barrels stored at the site since the 1990s.
Ibrahim al-Amin, the editor of Al-Akhbar, commented on the blast, saying the videos seen from the scene were reminiscent of world-end scenes, and attacked the country's decision-makers: "The city has become a mound of rubble. Whether what caused the explosion was a mistake or a sabotage "This is nothing but a cover. The explosion revealed the face of a systemic collapse. An integrated systemic collapse, from the way of thinking through behavior and management to dealing with crises." Al-Amin went on to say that "whoever is supposed to take responsibility has within minutes become an expert in the unknown sciences. Nothing else will be said - it is the collapse that preceded the great destruction which left nothing behind."
Dozens killed and thousands injured in an explosion in the port of Beirut; Hezbollah members interpreted the scene of the disaster
• Israel offered humanitarian aid to Lebanon
Hiroshima in Beirut: The apocalyptic explosion in the Lebanese capital is a sub-reality event
In the hours since the blast, fire was still rising from the scene of the blast, with the sounds of the sirens of ambulances traveling across the city being heard from everywhere. "We are witnessing a huge catastrophe," said Lebanese Red Cross chief George Katani. "There are dead and wounded everywhere." Hoda Barudi, a designer from the city, said the blast blew her a few meters away: "I was shocked and full of blood. It reminded me of the blast at the US Embassy in 1983." The Lebanese Red Cross said the situation in the city was so dire that its people could not reach the homes of the wounded, so they opened two first aid sites.
Lebanon's health minister said there were many missing persons at the scene: "People are asking the authorities about their loved ones, and it is difficult to look for them in the dark of night even because there is no electricity." Meanwhile, the U.S. embassy in Lebanon has called on residents to beware of toxic gases that could be released following the blast, to stay in their homes as much as possible and wear masks on their faces.
Senior political figures in Jerusalem said that Israel had nothing to do with the incident. Defense Minister Bnei Gantz and Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi said that under their direction, "Israel turned to Lebanon through international security and political elements and offered the Lebanese government medical humanitarian assistance." US President Donald Trump also referred to the incident, expressing condolences on the loss of life. The U.S. president added that he estimated the blast was caused by an attack or a bomb, but two U.S. officials said the intelligence in their possession contradicted Trump. However, Lebanese Deputy Speaker Ali Prazli said in an interview with Al-Malka that Israel was behind the blast.
The blast occurred three days before the Lebanese court was due to hand down its sentence in a trial against four Hezbollah operatives suspected of involvement in the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik al-Hariri and 21 other people in 2005.
The International Court of Justice is expected to publish today the conclusions of the assassination investigation that could lead to Nasrallah and Hezbollah.