Beirut: Death toll expected to rise, blast kills 78, injuring thousands

Beirut: Death toll expected to rise, blast kills 78, injuring thousands

2020-08-05 06:29:00 AM

Beirut: Death toll expected to rise, blast kills 78, injuring thousands

The blast revived memories of a 1975-90 civil war and its aftermath, when Lebanese endured heavy shelling, car bombings and Israeli air raids.

READ:Large blast in Beirut port area rocks Lebanon's capital, many people hurtDazed, weeping and injured people walked through streets searching for relatives.“The blast blew me off metres away. I was in a daze and was all covered in blood. It brought back the vision of another explosion I witnessed against the U.S. embassy in 1983," said Huda Baroudi, a Beirut designer.

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Prime Minister Hassan Diab promised there would be accountability for the deadly blast at the"dangerous warehouse", adding"those responsible will pay the price."The U.S. embassy in Beirut warned residents about reports of toxic gases released by the blast, urging people to stay indoors and wear masks if available.

MANY MISSING"There are many people missing. People are asking the emergency department about their loved ones and it is difficult to search at night because there is no electricity," Health Minister Hamad Hasan told Reuters.Hasan said 78 people were killed and nearly 4,000 injured.

Footage of the explosion shared by residents on social media showed a column of smoke rising from the port, followed by an enormous blast, sending a white cloud and a fireball into the sky. Those filming the incident from high buildings 2 km (one mile) from the port were thrown backwards by the shock.

Bleeding people were seen running and shouting for help in clouds of smoke and dust in streets littered with damaged buildings, flying debris, and wrecked cars and furniture.The explosion occurred three days before a U.N.-backed court is due to deliver a verdict in the trial of four suspects from the Shi'ite Muslim group Hezbollah over a 2005 bombing which killed former Prime Minister Rafik al-Hariri and 21 others.

Hariri was killed by a huge truck bomb on the same waterfront, about 2 km (about one mile) from the port.Israeli officials said Israel, which has fought several wars with Lebanon, had nothing to do with Tuesday's blast and said their country was ready to give humanitarian and medical assistance. Shi'ite Iran, the main backer of Hezbollah, also offered support, as did Tehran's regional rival Saudi Arabia, a leading Sunni power.

At a White House briefing, U.S. President Donald Trump indicated that the explosion was a possible attack, but two U.S. officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said initial information contradicted Trump's view. Read more: eNCA »

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PICS: Death toll in Beirut blast rises to over 50, thousands injured, says Lebanon health ministerA huge explosion in a port warehouse district near the centre of Beirut killed more than 50 people, injured over 2 700 others and sent shockwaves across the Lebanese capital, shattering windows and causing apartment balconies to collapse.

Beirut blast kills nearly 80 and injures thousandsOfficials say the death toll likely to rise and blame the blast on port warehouse storing ammonium nitrate

Beirut blast kills nearly 80 and injures thousandsOfficials say the death toll likely to rise and blame the blast on port warehouse storing ammonium nitrate

Huge blast rips through Beirut port in Lebanon’s capitalThe cause of the blast that killed at least 10 people and injured hundreds remains unclear

WATCH | Massive blast leaves at least 10 dead in Beirut, sends shockwaves across cityA huge explosion near the centre of Beirut killed at least 10 people and sent shockwaves across the Lebanese capital.

Large blast in Beirut port area rocks Lebanon's capital, many people hurtA large explosion rocked Beirut on Tuesday, injuring many people as glass shattered and balconies collapsed from the impact.