Rachel Maguire Rachel Maguire Aug 4, 2020
  • A massive explosion was blown out of Beirut on tuesday.
  • An enormous cloud of smoke could be seen from across the city.
  • Witnesses said there were reports of a fire and several smaller explosions at the port.

During the trip across the capital, a A massive explosion was blown out of Beirut on Tuesday. An enormous cloud of smoke could be seen from across the city and witnesses said there were reports of a fire and several smaller explosions at the port.

Despite the number being known for a time, ambulances rushed the wounded away and officials said Beirut's hospitals were full. The fire may have happened by highly explosive material that was taken from a ship some time ago and stored at the port. An Israeli government official said Israel “had nothing to do” with the blast. “It was a real horror show. I haven't seen anything like that since the days of the (civil) war”, said Marwan Ramadan, who was about 500 metres (yards) from the port and was knocked off his feet by the force of the explosion. The Red Cross official Georges Kettaneh said the injured are being taken to hospitals outside the capital because facilities are at capacity. The official said there were still bodies inside the port, many of them under debris. On television television shows, a fire raging at the port sent up a giant column of smoke. The fire was illuminated by flashes of what appear to be fireworks. The fire then seemed to catch at a nearby building, triggering a more massive explosion which sent up a mushroom cloud and a shock wave.

The blast came at a time when Lebanon's economy is facing collapse. It is facing both a financial crisis problems and an outbreak of coronavirus.

The explosion took place only three days before a U.N.-backed tribunal was due to issue a final ruling on the murder of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri. That explosion, with a ton of explosives, was felt miles away, just like Tuesday's explosion.

The explosion had caused much major damage inside the building and knocked out the power at the hospital. “This is a catastrophe we have on our hands”, said one doctor, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to make press statements.

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