An explosion at the port of Beirut in Lebanon has caused carnage in the country’s capital. The blast occurred after what appeared to be fireworks seen crackling over the buildings before a massive blast engulfed the surrounding buildings at around 5pm UK time.
Security consultancy Dryad Global reports that "local intelligence sources all confirm that a large 'shockwave' was observed, and caused significant structural damage to nearby buildings, with the blast radius extending at least 5-10 km from the epicentre of the explosion."
Reuters is quoting local medical source who say that at least ten people have been killed in the blast, however, this figure is likely to rise as the emergency services look to contain the fire and are sifting through the rubble at the port and in the surrounding neighbourhoods.
The BBC is reporting many injuries and that hospitals are “overwhelmed” with injured people.
If the scenes before the major explosion were indeed fireworks the speculation is that the fire and heat generated could have ignited other dangerous substances nearby. Though this is purely speculation at this point.
Dryad Global further reported, "Preliminary reports suggest that the blast took place at a storage warehouse which contained hazardous gases and/or nitrate-based industrial chemicals, as well as fireworks. Further reports also suggest the presence of natural gas."
Local sources have further reported that almost all of the port logistical infrastructure has been destroyed, while the status of vessels alongside remains unknown.
BBC reports are pointing to the rising political tensions within the country with a report on the death of the then prime minister Rafik Hariri in 2005.
The BBC also reported that tensions were again rising in Lebanon, following the 15-year civil war that began in 1975. According to the reports tensions are being fuelled by the economic downturn caused by the global pandemic.