Lebanon: at least 25 killed as huge explosion rocks Beirut

Note: The Central Bank of Lebanon is under investigation for accounting anomalies… Just Sayin’

The Guardian Martin Chulov in Beirut and Michael Safi in Amman

Two huge explosions have rocked Beirut, killing at least 25 people, injuring thousands more, and sending an enormous blast wave across the city that shattered windows, knocked down doors and shook buildings.

Hundreds of homes were left uninhabitable after the blasts ripped through a section of the Lebanese capital’s port.

Thousands of people sought treatment in nearby hospitals, which were struggling to cope with the casualties, Lebanon’s health minister said. Cars were left strewn across the surrounding highway, and the blast was heard up to 50 miles away in the country’s north.

The health minister Hamad Hassan put the confirmed death toll at 25 and estimated that 3,000 people had been injured.

Hours after the explosion, which took place at 6:05pm (1605 BST), the cause remained unclear. Israel denied responsibility and said it had offered humanitarian and medical aid.

Initial reports suggested that a fireworks warehouse was involved. The Lebanese security chief Abbas Ibrahim later blamed combustible chemicals stored in a warehouse. The interior minister, Mohammed Fahmi, said ammonium nitrate had been among the materials stored and called for an investigation into how it ignited.

“Talk of fireworks is ridiculous,” said Ibrahim. “There are no fireworks but rather highly explosive material, and I can’t foretell the investigations … it seems the explosion happened in a warehouse of highly explosive material that was confiscated years ago.”

Read More at The Guardian

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