Massive explosion in Beirut kills at least 10, injures hundreds
A huge explosion near the centre of Beirut killed at least 10 people, injured hundreds, and sent shockwaves across the Lebanese capital, shattering windows and causing apartment balconies to collapse, witnesses and security sources said.
The most powerful explosion to hit Beirut in years shook the ground, leaving some residents thinking an earthquake had struck. Dazed and weeping, some of them wounded, people walked through streets checking to see if relatives were hurt.
The blast occurred in the city's port area, where there were warehouses housing explosives, Lebanon's state news agency NNA and two security sources said. A third security source said there were chemicals stored in the area.
Footage of the blast shared by residents on social media showed a column of smoke rising from the port district followed by an enormous blast. Those filming what initially appeared to be a big blaze were thrown backwards by the shock of the explosion.
At least 10 bodies were taken to hospitals, a security source and a medical source told Reuters. The Lebanese Red Cross said hundreds of people were taken hospitals for treatment.
Lebanese President, Michel Aoun called for an emergency meeting of the country's Supreme Defence Council, according to the presidency's Twitter account.
It was not immediately clear what caused the blaze that set off the blast or what kind of explosives were in the warehouses. (Reuters)