Beirut: Dozens killed, several injured following massive explosion

Beirut: Dozens killed, several injured following massive explosion

- Images from the city show cars, ambulances and military vehicles packed with the people walking while wounded

- The cause of the explosion remains unclear

- Israel said it had offered humanitarian aid to Lebanon via foreign channels

- This is because the two countries have no diplomatic relations

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Two huge explosions rocked the Lebanese capital Beirut on Tuesday, August 4, killing and injuring dozens of people, shaking buildings and sending huge plumes of smoke into the sky.

It is not yet clear what caused the explosion in the city's port region but videos posted online showed a large mushroom cloud and destroyed buildings.

A report by BBC showed Lebanon's internal security chief said the blast happened in an area housing highly explosive materials.

READ ALSO: Range Rovers, Maseratis: Magashule's circle used state funds on whips

Dozens killed, several injured following massive explosion in Beirut
The blast happened in an area housing highly explosive materials. Photo: CNN.
Source: UGC

Lebanon's Prime Minister Hasan Diab declared Wednesday, August 5, a day of mourning.

He also said that those responsible for the explosion at the dangerous warehouse at the port area would pay the price.

"I promise you that this catastrophe will not pass without accountability...Those responsible will pay the price," he said in a televised speech.
"Facts about this dangerous warehouse that has been there since 2014 will be announced and I will not preempt the investigations," he added.

Further reports indicated every shop in the Hamra commercial district had sustained damage, with entire shopfronts destroyed, windows shattered and many cars wrecked.

Lebanese Health Minister Hamad Hasan spoke of many injuries and extensive damage, and the Lebanese Red Cross says hundreds of people had been taken to hospital.

Sections of local media reported the blasts may have been an accident.

The explosion released a shockwave causing widespread damage to buildings and shattering windows in different parts of the city.

Among those feared dead is the secretary-general of the Kataeb political party, Nazar Najarian, according to Lebanon state-run NNA news.

Najarian is reported to have been in his office when the explosion happened. He died after being critically injured.

The Lebanese Red Cross, health officials and politicians have called on people to donate blood to help the injured in hospital

While officials have yet to announce an official number of casualties, multiple members of the emergency services expressed worries that there could be a high death toll.

In other news, reported that the State Capture Inquiry heard how Ace Magashule's time as the Free State Premier saw him tied in with some questionable deals.

A R225 million 'asbestos removal' contract was linked to the ANC secretary-general and his former cronies.

Prosecution Advocate Paul Pretorious led the forensic analysis on Tuesday detailing how the contract was not honours. Instead, the public works funding was funnelled to those in Magashule's inner circle with at least two of his colleagues scoring high-end vehicles.

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