At least 10 dead as massive explosion rocks Beirut destroying buildings and ‘leaving people covered in blood and broken glass’
- WARNING GRAPHIC CONTENT: The country’s health minster said the blast has left many people injured
- It reportedly destroyed the house of former PM Saad Hariri, who has been confirmed safe by his party
- Dramatic footage shows smoke billowing from the port area shortly before an enormous fireball explodes
- Sources close to Lebanon’s militant group Hezbollah denied theories the blast was an Israeli strike
A massive explosion in the Lebanese capital of Beirut has left at least 10 people dead and destroyed the home of the former prime minister.
The Future Movement Party confirmed that ex-PM Saad Hariri is safe, but the country’s health minister said the blasts had caused a ‘very high number of injuries’ and huge damage.
Medical sources told Reuters that at least 10 people been killed by the explosion, which appeared to follow a fire – the cause of which is unknown – at the port.
Dramatic footage shows smoke billowing from the port area shortly before an enormous fireball explodes into the sky and blankets the city in a mushroom cloud.
Security sources told Reuters the blast occurred where there are warehouses housing explosives, although it was not immediately clear what caused the blast or what kind of explosives were in the warehouses.
Sources close to Lebanon’s militant group Hezbollah denied theories the blast was an Israeli strike on a weapons facility.
It comes just days before a United Tribunal is set to rule on the assassination of the country’s former PM Rafik Hariri, Saad’s father.
The explosion comes at a time of heightened tensions in the Middle Eastern country which is is passing through its worst economic and financial crisis in decades.
Miles from the scene of the blast, balconies were knocked down, ceiling collapsed and windows were shattered, while local media carried images of people trapped under rubble, some bloodied
A massive explosion has rocked Beirut this afternoon destroying buildings and sending a huge fireball into the sky
Firefighters spray water at a fire after an explosion was heard in Beirut
The loud blast in Beirut’s port area was felt across large parts of the city and some districts lost electricity.
Preliminary reports by local Lebanese media said the blast may have been the result of an incident at Beirut port.
‘Buildings are shaking,’ tweeted one resident, while another wrote: ‘An enormous, deafening explosion just engulfed Beirut. Heard it from miles away’.
Online footage from a Lebanese newspaper office showed blown out windows, scattered furniture and demolished interior panelling.
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.
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.
They said: ‘All the downtown area windows are smashed and there are wounded people walking around. It is total chaos.’
A mobile phone image showing a general view of the harbor area with smoke billowing from an area of a large exoplosion, with damage and debris after a large explosion rocked the harbor area of Beirut
People on the street in Beirue which is strewn with debris from damaged buildings following the explosion
The loud blast in Beirut’s port area was felt across large parts of the city and some districts lost electricity
Dramatic footage on social media shows people screaming as an enormous blast rocks the waterside area of Lebanon’s capital city
A wounded man walks near the scene of an explosion in Beirut
A large explosion rocked the Lebanese capital Beirut today. The blast, which rattled entire buildings and broke glass, was felt in several parts of the city