Beirut (QNN)- At least 27 people have lost their lives and over 2,500 more were wounded on Tuesday after massive explosions hit the Lebanese capital Beirut, the health ministry has said.
Minister Hamad Hassan, quoted by the local LBC television channel, said the figures were preliminary estimates and described the tragedy as “a disaster in every sense of the word.”
“The capital’s hospitals are all filled with wounded people,” he added.
It was not immediately clear what caused the explosion.
Windows were shattered and buildings were destroyed in the widespread damage, while smoke was seen billowing across the city. Damage appears to have spread for several kilometers.
Local TV stations reported that the blast took place at an area where fireworks were sold, while Lebanon’s state news agency NNA quoted security sources as saying that the warehouses may have housed explosives.
Security Chief Abbas Ibrahim confirmed that there were warehouses in the area that stored “highly explosive materials,” without elaborating on whether this referred to weapons or fireworks. Ibrahim said the materials had been “confiscated years ago.”
Prime Minister Hassan Diab declared that Wednesday will be a national day of mourning for the victims of the explosion, while President Michel Aoun called an emergency meeting with the National Defense Council.