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.