A massive explosion shook the Lebanese capital city of Beirut on Tuesday. As of Tuesday night Eastern Time, at least 78 were reported dead and more than 4,000 wounded, The Guardian reported. The cause of the blast, which originated near the city's port, was not immediately clear. Early reports pointed to a fire at a fireworks storage facility, but the director-general of Lebanese intelligence suggested that confiscated high-explosive materials stored at the local port triggered the explosion. A red-orange cloud — the color of which could be explained by nitrates — lingered over part of the city after the explosion. Numerous casualties and extensive damage were reported. Wednesday has been declared a national day of mourning.
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A massive explosion and a serious shock wave shook the Lebanese capital city of Beirut on Tuesday, killing at least 78 people and wounding more than 4,000 others. Lebanese Prime Minister Hassan Diab said the blast — video of which quickly surfaced on social media — was caused by the ignition of more than 2,750 tonnes of ammonium nitrate stored, insecurely, at a warehouse. "I will not rest until we find the person responsible for what happened," Diab told reporters, according to NBC News. Lebanese authorities told CNN's Bed Wedeman that the ammonium nitrate was likely seized from a ship six or seven years before.
Footage of the massive explosion at #Beirut port a short while ago. It's truly frightening. #Lebanon pic.twitter.com/OZ0hZ5SwlC — Nader Itayim | نادر ایتیّم (@ncitayim) August 4, 2020 Huge blast in Beirut just now! pic.twitter.com/hId8JhZMKV — Tobias Schneider (@tobiaschneider) August 4, 2020 BREAKING: Massive explosion in Beirut. Footage from the daily star office now in Lebanon pic.twitter.com/2uBsKP5wCH — Ghada Alsharif (@GhadaaSharif) August 4, 2020
Local reports said that the blast was felt many miles away.
Looks like lots of minor crackling explosions preceding the big blast. Local media reports fireworks storage. Unclear for now. pic.twitter.com/pzYp34qogG — Tobias Schneider (@tobiaschneider) August 4, 2020
Echoing the prime minister, Maj. Gen. Abbas Ibrahim, the director-general of Lebanese intelligence, attributed the blast to confiscated high-explosive materials stored at the local port. US President Donald Trump, meanwhile, told reporters that it "seems like" the explosion was an "attack," citing purported conversations with US military officials. However, three Defense Department officials told CNN there is no evidence suggesting that.
Fireworks explosion?! I felt like I’m dying, I still can’t believe it #Lebanon #Beirut pic.twitter.com/EMTS470FOH — Ahmad M. Yassine | أحمد م. ياسين (@Lobnene_Blog) August 4, 2020
A red-orange cloud — the color of which could be explained by nitrates — lingered over the blast site after the explosion. The extent of the damage remains unclear, but local reports indicated that while the blast was focused on the port area, there was widespread damage in the city. Lebanon's health ministry said that at least 78 people were dead and more than 4,000 have been wounded, The Guardian reported. On Wednesday, the country willl observe a national day of mourning.SEE ALSO: A massive explosion just devastated Beirut. Here's what the unbelievable destruction looks like for people on the ground. Join the conversation about this story »
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