Multiple explosions ripped through downtown Beirut on Tuesday, according to several eyewitnesses at the scene.
Stunning video shows explosions just minutes ago at Beirut port pic.twitter.com/ZjltF0VcTr— Borzou Daragahi 🖊🗒 (@borzou) August 4, 2020
Several explosions rip through downtown Beirut
As of writing, two explosions reportedly occurred within the last 30 minutes — one at the port, and another inside Beirut, according to the AFP News Agency.
The explosion emanated from a location near the former Prime Minister Hariri's residence in the city center. This is significant because this week, Beirut serves as the site for an International Tribunal verdict regarding the assassination of Rafik Hariri.
UPDATE August 4, 12:30 PM EDT: Fireworks ship near port exploded, dozens injured
Totaled cars were strewn about the highway surrounding the explosion, while no deaths have yet been reported — however, eyewitnesses told LBC television that dozens were injured — with hospitals full of injured casualties, reports The Guardian.
The health minister of Lebanon said a ship carrying fireworks blew up in the city port. However, the colossal size of the blast heard throughout the country raised suspicions that it could be the result of a rocket strike or the detonation of heavy explosives — intentional or not.
UPDATE August 4, 12:45 PM EDT: Several smaller explosions reported, damage to Beirut
The giant cloud of smoke was visible throughout the city and eyewitnesses at the scene shared reports of fire, in addition to several smaller explosions from the city's port that reportedly preceded the large main blast, which happened at 6:00 PM on Tuesday, local time.
BREAKING: Massive explosion in Beirut. Footage from the daily star office now in Lebanon pic.twitter.com/2uBsKP5wCH— Ghada Alsharif (@GhadaaSharif) August 4, 2020
A local newspaper's offices roughly 1,312 ft (400 m) from the port — the Daily Star — sustained significant damage from the explosion, reports The Guardian.
As shown in the above tweets, buildings were reduced to shells, with shipping containers scattered across the scene as multiple fires raged.
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UPDATE August 4, 1:00 PM EDT: Red cloud hung over Beirut, emergency response teams respond
A towering red cloud hung over the city in the wake of the main explosion while firefighters rushed to the scene to extinguish the flames, reports CNN. Footage from the site shows injured people staggering around the streets in the Lebanese capital.
Local homes up to 6.21 miles (10 km) away sustained damage, according to eyewitnesses. One resident several miles away from the blast's epicenter said her windows were shattered by the shockwave. "What I felt was that it was an earthquake," said Rania Masri to CNN.
"The apartment shook horizontally and all of a sudden it felt like an explosion and the windows and doors burst open," she told CNN. "The glass just broke. So many homes were damaged or destroyed."