A massive explosion, Tuesday evening, hit central Beirut, Lebanon, shattering windows, knocking down doors and shaking buildings several hundred feet away.
The blast also injured dozens of people and damaged buildings in the nation’s capital Beirut and its suburbs, officials said.
Footage seen on social media showed a huge mushroom-like plume of smoke billowing into the sky, before a large orange blast shot into the air, forming a massive dome-shaped blast wave.
Further footages also showed how cars were left strewn across the highway adjoining the Beirut port.
Like its cause, the causality from the blast is still unclear, but many people are feared to be trapped in rubble in the surroundings of the blast.
A video on Twitter showed a dad cuddling his son docking under a cabinet when the blast shook their home, the dad mouthing some words of prayer.
tw // explosions
— . (@ghosthyu) August 4, 2020
There were also severe damages to buildings and shops in the area, including the home of former Prime Minister Saad Hariri, Bloomberg reported.
Likewise, Bel Trew, a Middle East correspondent for The Independent, shared a footage of the devastating effects the explosion had on her home: shattered windows and screens, rippled doors, and messy rooms.
“The cats are safe,” a terrified voice said from one of the rooms.
Massive massive explosion just rocked #Lebanon. We are in the mountains and heard first explosion then the blast wave which literally pushed us fall to our knees. No idea. But there is massive mushroom cloud.
— Bel Trew (@Beltrew) August 4, 2020
At first, local media said the blast was due to fireworks, but Lebanese security chief, Abbas Ibrahim, said it was not. Bloomberg reported him saying the blast was due to highly explosive materials at the port depot.
The country’s health minister also told journalists at least dozens were wounded but did not give further details of casualties, according to TheGuardian UK.
Lebanon, a mountain range country in the Middle East, is undergoing one of its worst political and financial crisis in decades.
On Monday, Bloomberg said, the country’s foreign minister resigned, saying the country risks becoming “a failed state” for the turmoil it faces.
The government, backed by militant group Hezbollah and its allies, has struggled to carry out reforms demanded by the international community as a condition for a bailout.
A recent $10 billion loan request from the International Monetary Fund has stalled. This has left the government with no option but to shift its quest to Gulf countries, primarily Kuwait, Iraq and Qatar.
Yet, many Gulf states and the U.S. classify Hezbollah as a terrorist group.