Massive explosion shocks Beirut, casualties feared

KeithBinns/iStockBy GUY DAVIES, ABC News

(LONDON) — Beirut, the capital of Lebanon, was rocked by a massive explosion on Tuesday evening, with footage from the ground showing significant damage and plumes of smoke rising above the city.

Two explosions occurred in Beirut’s port, potentially injuring dozens, according to the AFP. Firefighters were seen battling flames at the scene of the blast. It is not yet known what caused the explosions.

Ghada Alsharif, a reporter from the Daily Star, one of Lebanon’s most prominent news outlets, posted a video on social media showing significant damage within the newspaper’s office building. Firefighters were seen battling flames at the scene of the blast. It is not yet known what caused the explosion.

The Lebanese Red Cross have dispatched 30 teams to the scene and are making an urgent call for blood donations.

Other eyewitnesses said there are multiple fires still burning and that windows of apartment buildings were shattered in a large radius around the blast site. Video from the ground in Beirut shows cars crushed by rubble, injured people walking through debris and extensive damage to nearby buildings.

Hospitals in Beirut are already overwhelmed and have been turning the injured away, with some of the injured now driving to Tripoli, 50 miles north, to receive treatment. The blast itself was heard up to 25 miles south of the city, and the streets in Beirut are paved with glass.

Alyssa Farah, the White House director of Strategic Communications, tweeted that President Donald Trump had been briefed about the explosion.

“Praying for the safety of the people of Lebanon,” she posted on Twitter. “The President has been briefed. We continue to monitor the situation closely.”

The blast comes at a time of heightened tension between the Iranian-backed group Hezbollah, which makes up part of the Lebanese government, and neighboring Israel. An Israeli military official told ABC News they had no comment on the blast.

So far there has been no official comment from the Lebanese government.

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