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Terror, death, devastation in Lebanon explosion

China Plus Published: 2020-08-05 10:17:08

Smoke rises after a massive explosion in Beirut, Lebanon, Tuesday, Aug. 4, 2020. [Photo: Visual People]

A helicopter fights a fire at the explosion scene in Beirut, Lebanon, Tuesday, Aug. 4, 2020. [Photo: Visual People]

People walk at the explosion scene in Beirut, Lebanon, Tuesday, Aug. 4, 2020. [Photo: Visual People]

Civilians help an injured man at the explosion scene in Beirut, Lebanon, Tuesday, Aug. 4, 2020. [Photo: AP]

A man evacuates an injured person after a massive explosion in Beirut, Lebanon, Tuesday, Aug. 4, 2020.[Photo: AP]

Civilians carry a person at the explosion scene in Beirut, Lebanon, Tuesday, Aug. 4, 2020. [Photo: AP]

As they watched a huge mushroom cloud rise over the seaport capital, many who felt the massive explosion in Beirut on Tuesday thought it was a nuclear detonation. Others described the popping and bursting of fireworks and a raging fire that spread to another building, triggering the blast felt kilometers (miles) away.

The explosion collapsed balconies, shattered windows and ripped bricks from buildings, killing more than 70 people and injuring more than 3,000.

Interior Minister Mohammed Fahmi told a local TV station that it appeared the blast was caused by the detonation of more than 2,700 tons of ammonium nitrate that had been stored in a warehouse at the dock ever since it was confiscated from a cargo ship in 2014. Witnesses reported seeing an orange cloud like that which appears when toxic nitrogen dioxide gas is released after an explosion involving nitrates.

The explosion also happened amid rising tensions between Israel and the militant Hezbollah group along Lebanon’s southern border. Israel denied any responsibility.

(Story includes material sourced from AP.)

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