Hundreds injured, many feared dead after explosions rock Lebanon capital

 Al Arabiya - Ismaeel Naar & Joseph Haboush

Multiple explosions rocked Downtown Beirut Tuesday, according to several eyewitnesses. Buildings several kilometers away suffered material damage and the explosions were heard over 20 kilometers north of Beirut.


Multiple explosions rocked Downtown Beirut Tuesday, according to several eyewitnesses. Buildings several kilometers away suffered material damage and the explosions were heard over 20 kilometers north of Beirut.

It remains unclear what caused the explosions. At least one explosion took place near former Prime Minister Saad Hariri's Downtown Beirut residence, LBCI reported. Another local TV station, MTV, quoted a security source saying that the explosion took place at a storage facility at the Port of Beirut.

Initial reports and eyewitness accounts suggest that there were two separate explosions. Beirut Governor Marwan Abboud said firefighters were dispatched to put out a fire reported at the Port of Beirut. "As they were putting out the fire, the explosion took place and we've [lost them]," Abboud said on live TV as broke down in tears.

Lebanon is currently going through an unprecedented financial and economic crisis and an international tribunal is expected to issue its verdict on the assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri later this week. The Special Tribunal for Lebanon has already indicted and accused Hezbollah members of carrying out the assassination.

One Beirut resident told Al Arabiya English that she heard a loud explosion, "and then we heard airplanes and an explosion. The whole house shook."Another resident north of Beirut told Al Arabiya English that he felt the ground tremble while he was shopping in Kaslik, north of Beirut.