News & Politics

Mysterious Massive Explosions Rock Beirut — UPDATED

Twitter screenshot (@AbirGhattas)

See below for updates.

Two massive explosions shock Beirut, Lebanon, on Tuesday, and the cause remains unclear.

Joyce Karam, a Washington correspondent for the United Arab Emirates newspaper The National, reported that one explosion took place at the port and another happened inside Beirut. The explosion inside the city took place near the home of former Prime Minister Saad Hariri, although reports suggest he was not hurt in the blast.

The second explosion shook the city, making houses rock back and forth.

The Beirut port explosion appears truly massive.

Footage from a boat also captured the explosion.

The explosion could be heard and felt from miles away.

Glass shattered about 6 miles away.

This is a developing story and will be updated.

Update 4:40 p.m.

A Lebanese security source has attributed the mysterious explosion to “tens of tons of ammonium nitrate.”

“What happened was the explosion of tens of tons of ammonia nitrate, which was highly explosive, which was in one of the warehouses, and it was obligatory to be destroyed or transferred to Fair Place after it was previously seized. The explosion was caused by a fire that broke out close to the dangerous warehouse,” a source told Lebanon’s MTV News.

Update 1:15 p.m.

Another video of the explosion sounds like fireworks.

 

Investigative reporter Jordan Schachtel noted that “Whether or not it was indeed a fireworks depot that exploded in Beirut, we’ve known for years that Hezbollah stores advanced weaponry inside of the city on top of major population centers. Hezbollah uses citizens as human shields to protect its weapons. No regard for human life. And of course, none of this would be possible without Hezbollah’s benefactor, the Islamic Republic of Iran.”

Reuters has launched a live feed.

Reuters has also reported that at least ten people died in the explosions.

Update 12:35 p.m.

Security sources in Beirut have told local media the explosions took place at a “fireworks depot.” Joyce Karam, a Washington correspondent for the United Arab Emirates newspaper The National, noted the “videos suggest more than fireworks that exploded.”

An Israeli intelligence research outfit claimed that the explosion was “not a coincidence” because it involved “one of the warehouses near the port, which has already been identified as part of Hezbollah’s missile accuracy project.”

The Daily Caller’s Greg Price noted that “Hezbollah controls the government in Lebanon and allegedly uses that port to offload Iranian supplied weapons.” He interpreted the “fireworks depot” claim as evidence that the “coverup has begun.”

Original story.

Tyler O’Neil is the author of Making Hate Pay: The Corruption of the Southern Poverty Law Center. Follow him on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.