Here is our video report on the explosion in Beirut.
Beirut has been rocked by a huge explosion, devastating parts of the city and injuring thousands of people. Eyewitness footage shared widely on social media showed a section of the city’s port area on fire before a huge blast engulfed nearby neighbourhoods, flattening buildings and leaving streets littered with broken glass and debris.
The Lebanese security chief, Abbas Ibrahim, later blamed combustible chemicals stored in a warehouse. Lebanon’s prime minister, Hassan Diab, said those responsible would ‘pay a price’ for the disaster:
Lebanon’s Supreme Defence Council recommended declaring Beirut a disaster-stricken city, declaring a two-week state of emergency in the capital and handing over security responsibility to military authorities, Reuters reports.
A council statement, read live on television, said President Michel Aoun has decided to release 100bn Lebanese pounds in emergency allocations from the 2020 budget.
It also recommended ahead of a Cabinet meeting on Wednesday that a committee be tasked with investigating the blast and present its findings within five days to mete out the maximum punishment for those responsible.