Powerful blasts rock Beirut, killing dozens

Nazar Najarian, leader of Lebanese political party, succumbs to injuries


BEIRUT — At least two powerful explosions rocked the Lebanese capital, Beirut, on Tuesday, killing dozens of people and injuring hundreds of them.

According to local media reports, a warehouse at the Beirut Port caught fire, leading to blasts, which reverberated in the capital and the suburbs.

The blasts caused extensive damages to the surrounding buildings and wounded scores of people. According to the reports, Nazar Najarian, the secretary-general of Lebanon's Kataeb Party, succumbed to the injuries he sustained, marking the first high-profile casualty as a result of the blasts.

Describing the blasts as a “disaster in every sense of the word,” Lebanon Health Minister Hamad Hassan said that the death toll in the Beirut blast has doubled to at least 70, with many more feared dead.

It is not yet clear what caused the explosion. Videos show smoke billowing from a fire before the blasts, which is followed by a mushroom cloud.

Miles from the port, balconies were knocked down, windows shattered, streets were covered with glass and bricks and lined with wrecked cars.

Lebanon's internal security chief said the blast happened in an area housing highly explosive materials.

Hospitals are said to be overwhelmed and many buildings have been destroyed.

Prime Minister Hassan Diab called it a catastrophe and vowed that all those responsible will be held to account.

He said national unity the only way to overcome the catastrophe, seeking help from “friendly countries.”

Former Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri said in a tweet that the scale of the losses after an explosion rocked the capital Beirut “was too great to be described” with the “biggest loss is the loss of dozens of dead and injured.” — Agencies