In Pictures: Lebanon’s capital Beirut shaken by massive explosion
A massive explosion has rocked Lebanon’s capital, Beirut, causing many casualties, damaging buildings and shattering windows.
The blast, which flattened much of the capital’s port, was felt across the city as a giant mushroom cloud rose above it.
Lebanon’s health minister said “hundreds” of people were wounded as witnesses said many were injured by flying glass and debris.
Kilometres from the scene of the blast, balconies were knocked down and ceilings collapsed.
The cause of the blast was not immediately clear. It came at a time when Lebanon is passing through its worst economic and financial crisis in decades.
Lebanese Health Minister Hamad Hassan says more than 50 people have been killed and 2,700 are wounded in a massive explosion at the port in Lebanon’s capital, Beirut.
The explosion released a shockwave causing widespread damage to buildings and shattering windows in different parts of the city.
The cause of the explosion was not immediately clear.
Here are the latest updates:
20:24 GMT – France in process of sending aid to Lebanon
France is in the process of sending aid to Lebanon, French President Emmanuel Macron says.
“France is side by side with Lebanon. Always,” Macron tweeted. “French aid and resources are currently on their way.”
Macron’s office said he has also called Lebanese President Michel Aoun to express France’s support for the Lebanese people.
20:20 GMT – Hezbollah calls for national unity
Lebanon’s Hezbollah movement has said all of the country’s political powers must overcome the “painful catastrophe” and unite.
20:10 GMT – Saudi Arabia following with great concern consequences Beirut’s explosion
Saudi Arabia’s foreign ministry has said that it is following with great concern the consequences of Beirut’s port explosion, according to the state news agency.
The statement also affirmed the kingdom’s full support and solidarity with the Lebanese people.
19:38 GMT – More than 50 people killed: health minister
In televised remarks, Lebanon’s Health Minister Hamad Hassan has said the death toll has risen to more than 50 people killed and more than 2,700 have been injured.
Hassan said that they had contacted the World Health Organization (WHO) to bring in an aid plane.
19:35 GMT – Lebanon PM says those responsible for Beirut explosion will pay the price
Lebanon’s Prime Minister Hassan Diab has said that those responsible for an explosion at a “dangerous” warehouse in Beirut port area that rocked the capital 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”.
19:33 GMT – Israel offers humanitarian aid
Israel says it has offered humanitarian aid to Lebanon via foreign channels, as the two countries have no diplomatic relations.
“Under the direction of Minister of Defence Benny Gantz and Minister of Foreign Affairs Gabi Ashkenazi, Israel approached Lebanon through international defence and diplomatic channels to offer the Lebanese
government medical humanitarian aid,” the two said in a joint statement.
19:22 GMT – Explosion destroys Italian civilian ship
At the port Al Jazeera’s Timour Azhari spoke to Vincenco Orlandini, 69, a crew member of an Italian civilian ship, the Orient Queen, that was docked near the blast site.
He was covered in blood after the explosion threw him across a room of his ship, while several people on board were wounded and taken to hospital, Azhari said.
“I heard the blast and I flew to the opposite [side] of the lobby. I landed on the carpet and I’m lucky; I think that saved me. The ship is totally destroyed – the cabins, the lounge, everything,” Orlandini said.
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