Witness Sees Bodies Strewn on the Ground After Huge Beirut Blast

USA World
Mohamed Azakir/Reuters
Mohamed Azakir/Reuters

A large explosion rocked Beiruit, Lebanon, Tuesday afternoon, shattering windows across the city and destroying buildings in the main port. Lebanon’s health minister said there were a large number of injuries and widespread damage.

A witness on the ground who works for the United Nations, but who does not speak on their behalf, was near the port when the explosion happened. She told The Daily Beast that bodies were scattered from the blast. “There was dark smoke from a fire and then a massive blast and everyone fell to the ground,” she said. “A lot of people didn’t get up.”

CNN’s Ben Wedeman, who is based in Beirut, was in the bureau about a kilometer away before the blast. He reported on CNN that people were tweeting photos of a fire in the port about 15 minutes before a massive blast shook the building, destroying the bureau.

He described a large red cloud hanging low over the city. “The city is in a state of panic,” he said on CNN. “The city is in a state of shock.”

Windows were blown out of buildings up to 6 miles away.

It is not immediately known what caused the blast, which came as the city braces for the verdict in a long-awaited trial over the assassination of former prime minister Rafik al-Hariri. Local media reports that the main blast came from an explosion in a fireworks warehouse.

This story is developing.

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