Beirut was plunged into a nightmare of terror on Tuesday, July 4, as a massive explosion rocked Lebanon’s capital, causing widespread destruction and shattering glass miles away from the blast.
Reports say at least 73 people were killed by the blast, with around 3,000 more injured.
The death toll is rising by the minute.
More than 30 teams from the Red Cross raced to the scene in an effort to save many of the injured. Many bodies remain trapped under the rubble, still in their cars.
“It was like a nuclear explosion,” said Walid Abdo, a 43-year-old school teacher in Gemayzeh near Beirut.
Stunning video shows explosions just minutes ago at Beirut port pic.twitter.com/ZjltF0VcTr
— Borzou Daragahi 🖊🗒 (@borzou) August 4, 2020
Lebanese Prime Minister Hassan Diab said the explosion “will not pass without accountability” and “those responsible will pay for what happened.”
Lebanese Red Cross official Georges Kettaneh said the injured were being ferried to hospitals outside the city as those in Beirut were already filled with the injured.
Outside the St. George University Hospital in Beirut’s Achrafieh neighborhood, the injured received treatment on the pavement. “This is a catastrophe we have on our hands,” said one doctor, speaking anonymously, as he was unauthorized to speak to the media.
According to Fox News, Abbas Ibrahim, chief of Lebanese General Security, said that the blast might have been caused by explosives that were confiscated from a ship and had been stored at the port.
Terrifying footage is coming out of Beirut…pic.twitter.com/aEYysK9nTO
— Dinesh D’Souza (@DineshDSouza) August 4, 2020
Local television channel LBC reported the material was sodium nitrate.
The blast was so intense it was felt and heard 180 miles across the Mediterranean in Cyprus. “It was a real horror show. I haven’t seen anything like that since the days of the (civil) war,” said Marwan Ramadan, who was thrown off his feet by the blast.
BREAKING: Beirut death toll has now climbed to more than 73, with more than 3000 injured @9NewsAUS
— Sophie Walsh (@sophie_walsh9) August 4, 2020
There were reports from witnesses of an unusual orange cloud over the site after the explosion. Orange clouds of toxic nitrogen dioxide gas often accompany an explosion involving nitrates, reported Fox News.
The fire caused by the explosion was caught on video by locals, and the giant column of smoke contained flashes, believed to be fireworks from a nearby factory.
A second explosion caused by the fire sent up an orange mushroom cloud and a shock wave.
“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,” one unnamed witness told Reuters.
“We are aware of the explosion and are concerned for the potential loss of life due to such a massive explosion,” Capt. Bill Urban, a spokesman for U.S. Central Command, said in a statement to Fox News.
The blast’s cause is under investigation, but Hezbollah is already in the limelight, multiple intelligence sources told Fox News.
“There are cars with dead people in the streets under rubble, and the medical infrastructure was already at full speed due to the pandemic and lack of supplies,” said one source.
The Red Cloud really worries me! https://t.co/AtNOtBfyrQ
— Karli 🇺🇸 (@KarluskaP) August 4, 2020