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Massive explosion rocks Beirut

A major explosion has slammed central Beirut, Lebanon, and damaged buildings as far as several miles away.

Driving the news: The cause of the explosion is unknown, as are details of potential deaths and injuries. It comes as Lebanon grapples with a crippling financial crisis and the ongoing effects of the coronavirus pandemic.


Stunning video shows explosions just minutes ago at Beirut port pic.twitter.com/ZjltF0VcTr

— Borzou Daragahi 🖊🗒 (@borzou) August 4, 2020

Details: Local media showed footage of severely damaged buildings near the site of the explosion, and noted that it occurred in an area containing warehouses, including to store grain.

  • One unconfirmed theory — based in part on videos that have been circulating on social media — is that the initial explosion involved a large supply of fireworks, which then triggered a larger explosion. Authorities have not yet commented on the cause.
  • The BBC notes that the explosion comes ahead of the verdict in a trial into the assassination of former prime minister Rafik Hariri in 2005. There's no indication the two events are related.
  • Downtown Beirut is quite compact, with roughly 360,000 people living in the city and over 2 million in the larger metro area.

This story is developing. Please check back for updates.

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