Beirut: Over 70 people have been killed and around 3,000 wounded in two huge explosions that rocked Lebanese capital Beirut, Health Minister Hamad Hassan said.
The blasts took place on August 4 evening, shaking buildings all over the city while also causing severe damages and casualties, Xinhua reported.
Preliminary investigations, said an official, indicated that highly explosive materials stored in ward 12 were the cause of the blasts. Later, Lebanon’s prime minister said 2,750 tonnes of ammonium nitrate exploded in the port.
The blast struck with the force of a 3.5 magnitude earthquake, according to Germany’s geosciences center GFZ, and it was heard and felt as far away as Cyprus more than 200 kilometers (180 miles) across the Mediterranean.
Lebanese Prime Minister Hassan Diab has urged his country’s allies to help Lebanon overcome the repercussions of the disastrous explosions.
Lebanese President Michel Aoun called for an emergency cabinet meeting and said a two-week state of emergency should be declared following a massive explosion in Beirut.
The explosion came amid ongoing tensions between Israel and the Hezbollah military group on Lebanon’s southern border.
“Israel has nothing to do with the incident,” the official said on condition of anonymity. Israel’s Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi told Israeli N12 television news that the explosion was most likely an accident caused by a fire.