A massive explosion rocked central Beirut that smashed windows, knocked down doors and rocked buildings several hundred meters away.
The source of the explosion that appears to be occurring around the port of the Lebanese capital is currently unclear. Cars were left strewn on the surrounding highway. Eyewitnesses told LBC TV that at least dozens were injured and hospitals were full of injured.
Another passerby by the harbor said he first saw a fire from his window and then felt a huge explosion which lifted the freeway.
Many people feared they would be trapped inside the rubble immediately surrounding the explosion.
Lebanon’s health minister told reporters that a ship carrying fireworks exploded in the port, although the scale of the explosion heard across the country raised suspicions that it could have resulted rocket strike or explosives detonation – deliberate or not. He said at least dozens were injured but did not give further details of the victims.
A huge cloud of smoke could be seen from all over the city and eyewitnesses said there were reports of fires and several smaller explosions in the harbor leading up to the big explosion after 6 p.m. Tuesday.
The office of the Daily Star newspaper about 400 meters from the port was among the buildings to suffer damage from the explosion.
Images from inside the Port of Beirut broadcast on Lebanese television showed buildings being shelled, shipping containers thrown across the scene and several raging fires.
An IDF spokesperson told the Guardian he would not comment on the blast.
More than to follow …