Powerful explosion rocks Lebanon's capital Beirut, dozens killed, thousands injured

Some 73 people were killed and some 2,750 others injured when a powerful explosion rocked Beirut's port. Buildings were destroyed and windows shattered, with dozens of Red Cross teams racing to the scene.

A massive explosion at a port in the Lebanese capital Beirut killed at least 73 people and injured around 2,750 others on Tuesday, according to Lebanon's health minister.

Prime Minister Hassan Diab later said that a large stockpile of 2,750 metric tons of ammonium nitrate in a warehouse at the port had caused the larger explosion.

"It is unacceptable that a shipment of 2,750 tonnes of ammonium nitrate has been present for six years in a warehouse, without taking preventive measures," Diab said at a defense council meeting, according to his spokesman later briefing reporters. "It is unacceptable and we cannot remain silent on this issue."
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Windows were shattered and buildings were destroyed in the widespread damage, while smoke was seen billowing across the city. Damage was incurred several kilometers from the explosion.

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Beirut's governor told local TV: "I have never in my life seen a disaster this big."

Several eyewitnesses reported that some of the wounded may be buried under rubble.

An eyewitness told Reuters news agency, "I saw a fireball and smoke billowing over Beirut."

"People were screaming and running, bleeding. Balconies were blown off buildings. Glass in high-rise buildings shattered and fell to the street."

Many people were seen lying injured on the ground and hospitals put out immediate calls for blood donations, the Associated Press reported. One hospital reported over 500 patients had arrived, bringing them to capacity.


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