First, there was a fire in the port of the Lebanese capital-it was reported that a ship with pyrotechnics caught fire. In the video, taken by eyewitnesses, against the background of the flames, you can actually see small gaps, similar to the flashes of fireworks, and a huge column of smoke rising into the sky.
A powerful explosion followed the fire in the port, and eyewitness cameras recorded a huge spherical cloud of explosive waves. According to media reports, the explosion was heard in Cyprus-250 kilometers from Beirut.
According to preliminary information, the explosion is not considered a terrorist act, but the exact cause has not yet been established. At the same time, the original version of the explosion on the ship with fireworks has already been refuted. According to the head of the General security of Lebanon, the explosion was not pyrotechnics, but some other substances. The representative of the army pointed out that the explosion occurred in the area of the terminal, where confiscated goods were taken for years.
Al Mayadeen TV channel reported that one of the warehouses in the port stored gasoline, and according to the Telegram channel Lebanese news, it was about 2,7 thousand tons of sodium nitrite, confiscated in 2013. Later, Lebanese Prime Minister Hassan Diyab said that 2,750 tons of ammonium nitrate were stored in a warehouse in the capital’s seaport. It has been there since 2014, and no special measures were taken to ensure the safety of citizens in this regard.
Local TV channel LBCI attributes the dangerous confiscated cargo to a Russian. According to him, ammonium nitrate was confiscated from the ship Rhosus, which belonged to a native of Khabarovsk Igor Grechushkin.
Thousands of people were injured and 100 were killed
Final data on the dead and injured as a result of the emergency is not yet available. Currently, the authorities say that about 4 thousand were injured. Al Arabiya TV reported that the General Secretary of the Lebanese al-Kataib party, Nizar Najarian, was among the injured: his condition was critical and he died soon after.
Footage from the scene of the accident showed the bodies of people still and covered in ash. More than 100 people are already known to have died, and many are also missing. These figures are probably not final. August 5 was declared a day of mourning.
It is noted that the incident caused panic in the city, including due to communication failures. The Lebanese red cross Committee also reported that many people were trapped in their homes. The Lebanese army announced that it was taking control of the areas affected by the explosion.
The building of the Russian Embassy was damaged
Authorities say that half of the city was affected to some extent by the explosion. According to eyewitnesses, houses located near the immediate site of the accident were destroyed. The blast broke Windows, demolished facades and roofs of buildings located even at a sufficient distance from the port. Damage was also caused to the building of the international airport in Beirut, which is located about ten kilometers from the epicenter of the explosion.
In particular, the building of the Russian Embassy was damaged. The diplomatic mission reported that the explosion damaged the facade. In addition, one of the employees of the Embassy received minor injuries. Diplomats do not yet have data on other injured Russians.
The Kazakh foreign Ministry said that the Consul of the Republic in Beirut received minor injuries. The building of the Kazakh diplomatic mission was also damaged.
Israel denies any involvement in the incident
According to one version that appeared in the media, the explosion could have been caused by a rocket attack by the Israeli air force on the port of Beirut. As reported by al-Hadas TV channel, the target of such an attack could be a warehouse of the Lebanese Shiite group Hezbollah.
The authorities of the Jewish state have already denied this assumption and declared that they were not involved in the explosion. The Hezbollah group reported that its facilities were not damaged in the explosion.
Other countries have offered assistance to Lebanon
Ankara was one of the first to offer assistance in the aftermath of the explosion to Beirut. Representative of the Turkish President Ibrahim Kalyn expressed his condolences to the families of the victims and wished a speedy recovery to the injured.
The us state Department also announced its readiness to provide “all possible assistance”. The representative of the Department noted that the American side does not have data on the causes of the explosion and is investigating whether citizens of the United States were injured as a result of the emergency.
Russia will send five EMERCOM planes to Lebanon on August 5 to help residents affected by the explosion. A mobile hospital, doctors, rescuers, as well as Rospotrebnadzor specialists with a laboratory for detecting coronavirus will be delivered to the city.