‘It was like a nuclear bomb’ Beirut rocked by mystery explosion as at least 50 killed and 3000 wounded in Lebanon’s capital

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This is the shocking moment a massive explosion shakes Lebanon’s capital Beirut with at least 50 people killed and 3,000 injured in the blast.

The afternoon blast shook several parts of the capital with thick smoke seen billowing from the city centre.

Lebanon’s state news agency NNA and two security sources said the explosion had occurred in the port area where there are warehouses housing Ammonium Nitrate.

It was not yet known what sparked the huge explosion.

Residents reported windows being blown out and false ceilings dropping.

A photographer near the port saw people lying injured on the ground, and hospitals called for blood donations, but exact casualties were not immediately known.

Lebanese health minister Hassan Hamad said at least 505 people are dead and more than 3,000 injured.



Smoke rises after an explosion in Beirut

Miles from the scene of the blast, balconies were knocked down, ceiling collapsed and windows were shattered.

Firecrackers are stored in the area where the blast occurred, according to local TV reports.

One witness said: “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”

Another witness said she saw heavy grey smoke near the port area and then heard an explosion and saw flames of fire
and black smoke.

They said: “All the downtown area windows are smashed and there are wounded people walking around. It is total chaos.”

Another local said it felt like “a nuclear bomb” had gone off.

Fady Roumieh was standing in the car park of a shopping centre around a mile east of the blast when the explosion occurred.



Firefighters spray water at a fire after the explosion

He said: “It was like a nuclear bomb.

“The damage is so widespread and severe all over the city.

“Some buildings as far as 2km are partially collapsed.

“It’s like a war zone. The damage is extreme. Not one glass window intact.”

Mr Roumieh added that the incident has been compounded by the current political climate in the city amid the coronavirus pandemic.

“And the emotional trauma to this city is what’s worst,” he added.

“On top of the pandemic.

“The total economic meltdown.

“And currency devaluation.”

The explosion comes at a when Lebanon is passing through its worst economic and financial crisis in decades.

It also comes amid rising tensions between Israel and the militant Hezbollah group along Lebanon’s southern border.