2,750 Tonnes of Ammonium Nitrate Caused Beirut Blasts, 113 Dead
“Those responsible for this catastrophe will pay the price,” Lebanese PM said.
Video Editor: Deepthi Ramdas
Lebanese Prime Minister Hassan Diab on Wednesday, 5 August said that the cause of the two blasts that rocked capital Beirut was 2,750 tonnes of ammonium nitrate being stored in the Beirut port warehouse.
At least 113 people have been killed and around 4,000 injured as two huge blasts rocked Beirut on Tuesday, 4 August
“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,” he said, as quoted by AFP news agency.
“What happened today will not pass without accountability. Those responsible for this catastrophe will pay the price,” PM Diab reportedly said.
Visuals from the city first showed a massive plume of smoke emerging from the city’s port before a second, even bigger explosion.
Two Week Emergency Declared in Beirut
The Lebanese government on Wednesday announced a two-week state of emergency in the capital and said it wanted officials placed under house arrest over the blasts, AFP reported.
“We call on the military leadership to impose house arrest on all those who organised the storage of ammonium nitrate” at Beirut's port, AFP reported quoting Information Minister Manal Abdel Samad.
Explosions Heard Even 240 Kms Away
According to CNN, buildings as far as 10 kilometres away were damaged, including the headquarters of former Prime Minister Saad Hariri. A red cloud hung over Beirut in the wake of the blast as firefighting teams rushed to the scene to try to put out the fire.
Meanwhile, AFP reported that the explosions were so powerful that they could even be heard in the island country of Cyprus, around 240 km away.
PM Modi Expresses Condolences
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that he was “shocked and saddened” by the incident. “Our thoughts and prayers are with the bereaved families and the injured,” he said.
Queen Elizabeth II Expresses Condolences
Britain's Queen Elizabeth II expressed condolences to the president of the Lebanon on Wednesday and said that she and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh were “deeply saddened” by the huge blast.
‘Terrible Attack,’ Says Donald Trump
US President Donald Trump, meanwhile, called it a “terrible attack,” adding that he was told by his generals that “bombs of some kind” might have been behind the incident.
Several pictures across social media showed charred structures around the area.
(With inputs from AFP, The Guardian and BBC.)
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