Prime Minister Narendra Modi this morning said he was “shocked and saddened” by massive explosions in Beirut, Lebanon, last night that killed at least 73 people and wounded over 4,000.
“Shocked and saddened by the large explosion in Beirut city leading to loss of life and property. Our thoughts and prayers are with the bereaved families and the injured (sic),” his office quoted him as saying in a tweet.
Yesterday, two enormous explosion in Lebanon’s capital Beirut – caught on camera – left over 70 people dead and thousands injured. Shocking visuals, which captured the chaos in the city, showed buildings shaking and wounded people stumbling along the debris.
Shocked and saddened by the large explosion in Beirut city leading to loss of life and property. Our thoughts and prayers are with the bereaved families and the injured: PM @narendramodi
— PMO India (@PMOIndia) August 5, 2020
The blasts at the port – most powerful explosion in years in Beirut – were heard throughout the small country and as far away as Nicosia on the eastern Mediterranean island of Cyprus, 240 kilometres (150 miles) away, news agency AFP reported.
The cause of the explosions was not immediately clear but a top official, General Security chief Abbas Ibrahim, said confiscated explosive materials had been stored at the city’s port.
Lebanon’s President Michel Aoun said that 2,750 tonnes of ammonium nitrate, used in fertilisers and bombs, had been stored for six years at the port without safety measures, and said it was “unacceptable”, news agency Reuters reported.
The city, which has also been witnessing a surge in coronavirus cases, was declared a disaster zone after he called an urgent meeting.
Amid condolences pouring from across the world, US President Donald Trump said: “It would seem like it based on the explosion. I met with some of our great generals and they just seem to feel that it was. This was not a – some kind of a manufacturing explosion type of a event. … They seem to think it was a attack. It was a bomb of some kind, yes.”
(With inputs from AFP, Reuters)