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The Lebanese authorities have been repeatedly warned of the danger of dangerous chemicals


Lebanon has placed any official responsible for the safety of Beirut's port in the past six years under house arrest as it investigates a massive explosion that has devastated the city.

The country's political leaders vowed that those responsible for the tragedy would "pay the price," but the customs officials dismissed their school finger and said they had been repeatedly warned of the danger but had failed to act.

The result was an astonishing photo that showed the dock's warehouse 12 filled with ammonium nitrate – with the highly explosive chemical stored in simple construction sacks without further protection.

The Russian businessman Igor Grechushkin reportedly abandoned the dangerous cargo in September 2013 before finally being taken to the port, where it remained for six years.

A ship with the cargo was arrested on the way from Batumi in the former Soviet Republic of Georgia to Mozambique and was never recovered.

On Tuesday evening, a fire that started in Camp 9 ignited 2,750 tons of the chemical and triggered a three kilotonne force explosion, one-fifth the size of the Hiroshima nuclear explosion.

Raghida Dergham from the Beiruter Institute said yesterday: “The storage of ammonium nitrate in a civilian port is a crime against humanity that must not go unpunished.

& # 39; convictions are not enough. I'm sure, but devastated. I have lost friends. I have lost my apartment. If I had been home, I would have lost my life. & # 39;

The health minister announced tonight that the death toll has increased to 135. In Beirut, which officials call the "disaster city", 5,000 wounded and dozens are still missing.

Lebanon has placed all officers responsible for Beirut port security in the past six years under house arrest after an ammonium nitrate-filled warehouse (pictured here) detonated with the force of a small nuclear weapon

The damaged grain silo and a burned boat in the port of Beirut, a day after a powerful double explosion, raced through the Lebanese capital

The damaged grain silo and a burned boat in the port of Beirut, a day after a powerful double explosion, raced through the Lebanese capital

Russian businessman Igor Grechushkin is said to have given up the dangerous cargo (image)

Igor Grechushkin, who currently lives in Cyprus with wife Irina (picture), is said to have given up his cargo

The dangerous cargo is said to have been abandoned by Russian businessman Igor Grechushkin (picture), who currently lives in Cyprus with his wife Irina (right).

Dramatic material on social media shows people screaming while a massive explosion shakes the Lebanese capital's waterfront

Dramatic shots show smoke rising from the port area just before a huge fireball explodes in the sky and covers the city with a thick mushroom cloud

A campfire triggered by a welder ignited 2,750 tons of ammonium nitrate stored in the city's port, causing an explosion with a force equivalent to about a fifth of the atomic bomb used to level Hiroshima

Destruction uncovered: aerial photographs show the cored frames of the warehouses in Beirut's port after the massive explosion yesterday

Destruction uncovered: aerial photographs show the cored frames of the warehouses in Beirut's port after the massive explosion yesterday

The port of Beirut is in ruins after the explosion, causing warehouses to collapse with highly flammable ammonium nitrate

The Rhosus ship, which was arrested on the way from Batumi in the former Soviet Republic of Georgia to Mozambique and never recovered, left its cargo in the port

The Rhosus ship, which was arrested on the way from Batumi in the former Soviet Republic of Georgia to Mozambique and never recovered, left its cargo in the port

Satellite images show the cruise ship Orient Queen before the explosion and capsized in Beirut after the explosion

Foreign Minister Dominic Raab pledges £ 5 million in aid to Lebanon

Dominic Raab has pledged £ 5m in international aid to help Lebanon after the devastating explosion in Beirut that killed at least 135 people.

The Foreign Minister spoke to Hassan Diab, Prime Minister of Lebanon, today to explain what support Britain could offer to the country in emergency.

The British aid package is also included Expert support and the potential of a Royal Navy survey vessel to assess damage caused in port.

Mr Raab said the Lebanese Prime Minister had told him that there would be "a full, thorough and rigorous investigation to find out the truth – I think the people of Lebanon are earning no less – and that there will be full accountability".

The government has said that all embassy staff based in Beirut will be held accountable, but some have suffered "non-life-threatening injuries".

Mr Raab said the details of the British who were affected by the Beirut explosion were not yet known.

"We are not sure of the exact numbers of British nationals, we will of course want to get to the bottom of these in the coming days," said the Secretary of State.

"Obviously we have a consular team there that monitors this very carefully."

An official source familiar with preliminary investigations blamed the incident for negligence. Lebanese citizens have angered politicians who have monitored decades of state corruption and poor governance and plunged the nation into a financial crisis.

Lebanese Customs Director General Badri therefore said the country's judiciary had been informed six times about the dangerous chemicals stored in a warehouse in the Lebanese capital.

Customs officials are believed to have asked the authorities to remove the hazardous substance from Hangar 12 because they believe it exists for the city and will be handed over to the army or sold to an explosives company.

& # 39; We asked that it be exported again, but that did not happen. We leave it up to the experts and those affected to determine why, ”therefore said.

Another source near a port employee said a team that inspected the ammonium nitrate six months ago had warned that if it were not moved, it would "blow up all of Beirut".

Prime Minister Hassan Diab vowed those responsible to "pay the price" when he declared the two-week state of emergency to deal with the crisis, and urged all leaders to "help Lebanon" and added added: "We are experiencing a real disaster. & # 39;

Documents published online indicated that they could be handed over to the army or sold to an explosives company, but received no answers, so that the explosive load languished in the now destroyed port area of ​​the capital.

Ammonium nitrate is a chemical that is used in fertilizer bombs and is widely used in the construction industry, but also by insurgent groups such as the Taliban and the IRA for improvised explosives.

As the residents examine their city's debris and mourn their loved ones this morning, they quickly become angry at who is responsible for the devastating explosion that is already struggling economically and affected by the effects of the corona virus.

The 2,750-ton cargo – officially saltpetre – was seized in September 2013 on the way from Batumi in the former Soviet Republic of Georgia to Mozambique by the Rhosus ship, which is flying the Moldovan flag.

Igor Grechushkin, who currently lives in Cyprus with his wife Irina, has been accused of leaving his deadly cargo ship in Beirut.

According to the Greek media, the Cypriot security services are urgently looking for a Russian man who is linked to the explosion in Beirut.

The 2,750 tonne cargo – officially saltpetre – was confiscated on the way from Batumi in the former Soviet Republic of Georgia to Mozambique.

Excavator at the site of the explosion after the port of Beirut was in ruins

Excavator at the site of the explosion after the port of Beirut was in ruins

An aerial view shows the massive damage to the grain silos of the port of Beirut and the surrounding area

An aerial view shows the massive damage to the grain silos of the port of Beirut and the surrounding area

The houses were completely wiped out by the explosion, which was estimated to be a tenth the size of an atomic bomb

The houses were completely wiped out by the explosion, which was estimated to be a tenth the size of an atomic bomb

The destroyed Saint George Hospital was damaged after a devastating port explosion in Beirut

The destroyed Saint George Hospital was damaged after a devastating port explosion in Beirut

Lebanon has started the daunting task of cleaning up its capital, Beirut, after a devastating explosion tore up the city's port (pictured) and caused damage across the city after several tons of explosive chemicals were ignited

Lebanon has started the daunting task of cleaning up its capital, Beirut, after a devastating explosion tore up the city's port (pictured) and caused damage across the city after several tons of explosive chemicals were ignited

A before and after picture showing the damage to the port of Beirut, including the complete destruction of the camp where the chemicals and soil are stored

The Beirut explosion was one of the largest non-nuclear explosions in history, experts say

The Beirut explosion is "undoubtedly" one of the largest non-nuclear explosions in history, according to calculations by British engineering experts.

A team from the University of Sheffield calculated the magnitude of the explosion from the videos and photos taken since the Tuesday disaster.

They believe the explosion corresponded to 1,000 to 1,500 tons of TNT – an explosion intensity that would support the assumption that it was caused by a fire that detonated 2,750 tons of ammonium nitrate fertilizer.

This is about a tenth of the intensity of the Hiroshima atomic bomb, but far greater than any conventional weapon explosion.

Professor Andy Tyas, an expert in explosion protection technology at the university, said: “There are simple rules of thumb that relate the maximum expansion of the fireball to the size of the original explosive charge and some very approximate measurements from online video material. We believe the explosion is on the order of 1,000 to 1,500 tons of TNT.

& # 39; We also analyzed video material of the time delay between the detonation and the arrival of the shock wave at points several hundred meters before the explosion, which largely correspond to this charge size.

"If that were true, it would mean that this explosion might be 10 percent the intensity of the Hiroshima bomb.

"Regardless of the exact charge size, this is undoubtedly one of the largest non-nuclear explosions in history, far larger than any conventional weapon."

Four seafarers had to stay in the ship to ensure its safety and in July 2014 a maritime website reported: "The crew took a floating bomb hostage".

Their plight led to a hunger strike before they were finally allowed to go and return home, demanding a £ 100,000 wage.

They claimed that motorcycle fan Grechushkin claimed that he had gone bankrupt and "left the ship."

Most of the cargo was then stored at the 12th berth in the port of Beirut after it was confiscated by the Lebanese authorities.

REN TV in Moscow said Grechushkin's ship had been arrested and the contents had been confiscated "due to the lack of documents and conditions required for transportation".

Grechushkin had to pay a "big penalty" and as a result, he "filed for bankruptcy".

Neither the businessman nor his family have commented on the terrible explosion in Beirut or their version of the fate of the cargo.

The first warning of the potential danger of the chemicals stored in the port came on June 27, 2014 from the then director of Lebanese customs, Shafik Merhi, as Al-Jazeera reported.

The officials then sent more letters of increasing urgency about the danger that the dangerous chemicals pose to the Lebanese judiciary.

In a letter sent in 2016 it said: "Given the serious risk of keeping these goods in the hangar under unsuitable climatic conditions, we reiterate our request to ask the Maritime Authority to re-export these goods immediately to ensure port safety and who are working on or agreeing to sell this amount to the Lebanese Explosives Company. & # 39;

The letters were never answered, despite the obvious danger they posed to the city.

In 2017, the new chief of customs pleaded with the judge to make a decision regarding the chemicals, but they were left in a hangar.

The United States, Britain, France, the Gulf States and even fierce rivals Israel offered money and help when President Michel Aoun declared three days of mourning and announced that he would release $ 66 million in emergency funds.

France sends two planes with dozens of rescue workers, a mobile medical unit and 15 tons of relief supplies. French President Emmanuel Macron's office says the aid should help treat around 500 victims.

French peacekeepers based in Lebanon, a former French protectorate, have been helping since the explosions, Macron's office said.

According to the Royal Court, a military field hospital will be deployed with all the necessary staff. Egypt opened a field hospital in Beirut to take care of the wounded.

Czech Interior Minister Jan Hamacek said Lebanon has accepted an offer to send a team of 37 rescue workers to Beirut with sniffer dogs. Denmark says it is ready to provide humanitarian aid to Lebanon and Greece is ready to help the Lebanese authorities "by whatever means possible".

On Wednesday morning, fires were still burning in the destroyed port when the full extent of the devastation – in a country that was already in the midst of an economic crisis – was revealed

Members of a Dutch Urban Search and Rescue Team (USAR) board the plane at Eindhoven Air Base. The Netherlands send the team to Beirut to find people who will be missing after Tuesday's explosions

Members of a Dutch Urban Search and Rescue Team (USAR) board the plane at Eindhoven Air Base. The Netherlands send the team to Beirut to find people who will be missing after Tuesday's explosions

Members of the Federal Office for Technical Assistance come to their departure for Beirut at the international airport in Frankfurt am Main

Members of the Federal Office for Technical Assistance come to their departure for Beirut at the international airport in Frankfurt am Main

A member of the Lebanese security forces inspects damage in the parliament building in the central district of the capital Beirut

Survivors of the explosion that ravaged Beirut overnight raided the city's ruins for corpses on Wednesday, as the death toll increased to 100 with more than 4,000 wounded and hospitals struggled to cope

Survivors of the explosion that ravaged Beirut overnight raided the city's ruins for corpses on Wednesday, as the death toll increased to 100 with more than 4,000 wounded and hospitals struggled to cope

A helicopter flies over the port, which was destroyed by the explosion yesterday and left thousands of people destitute

A helicopter flies over the port, which was destroyed by the explosion yesterday and left thousands of people destitute

The destroyed port after a massive explosion in downtown Beirut yesterday that has killed more than 100 people so far

The destroyed port after a massive explosion in downtown Beirut yesterday that has killed more than 100 people so far

Lebanese soldiers searched for bodies in the rubble of buildings, and the death toll is expected to continue to rise

Lebanese soldiers searched for bodies in the rubble of buildings, and the death toll is expected to continue to rise

A survivor who was dragged out of the rubble by Lebanese soldiers is hospitalized after the explosion that devastated Beirut

A survivor who was dragged out of the rubble by Lebanese soldiers is hospitalized after the explosion that devastated Beirut

A woman walks past cars that were flattened by falling brickwork after a massive explosion in Beirut

A woman walks past cars that were flattened by falling brickwork after a massive explosion in Beirut

Lebanon today dealt with the devastating explosion that hit the capital Beirut yesterday

Lebanon today dealt with the devastating explosion that hit the capital Beirut yesterday

UN delays assassination attempt against former Lebanese prime minister

A United Nations-sponsored tribunal said on Wednesday that it had suspended a 2005 verdict on the murder of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafic Hariri after the fatal explosion in Beirut.

The court's decision was due on Friday, but the judgment was postponed until August 18, the court said in a statement.

The Special Court for Lebanon (STL) "is deeply sad and shocked by the tragic events that shook Lebanon yesterday," the court said in a statement.

"The tribunal expresses solidarity with the Lebanese people in these difficult times."

The STL "issued a planning decision that postpones the delivery of the judgment until August 18".

Russia's emergency officials say the country will send five aircraftloads of aid to Beirut after an explosion in the port of the Lebanese capital killed at least 100 people and injured thousands on Tuesday.

Germany is ready to send a team of 47 search and rescue experts to Beirut after Tuesday's massive explosion in the city's port killed and injured at least 135 people and injured thousands.

Germany also says its message was damaged in the explosion, but diplomats have reactivated an old building and can work.

In the meantime, President Donald Trump offered US aid to Lebanon last night before describing the explosion as a "terrible attack" and claiming that his generals claimed that it was caused by a "bomb" without providing evidence.

Robert Baer, ​​a former CIA agent who has worked in the Middle East for years, held a more nuanced tone – the explosion appears to have been an accident, but he's not convinced that ammonium nitrate was the only cause.

He pointed to videos of what appeared to be fireworks that started off in a white cloud of smoke just before the main explosion that sent a red-brown column of smoke high into the sky.

Baer told CNN that these “firecrackers” were probably ammunition that had been kept as part of a weapons cache with military propellants.

"It was clearly a military explosive," he said. & # 39; It wasn't a fertilizer like ammonium nitrate. I'm pretty sure about it. & # 39;

But he added that if the blast was ever unveiled, it would probably take years to find out the truth of what caused the explosion, because "nobody will admit that they kept military explosives in the port."

Lebanon is effectively run by Hezbollah, an Iranian paramilitary group with a history of secrecy.

The U.S. Embassy in Beirut warned the city residents of reports of toxic gases released by the explosion and urged people to stay inside and wear masks, if available.

An aerial view of the port before the explosion shows the now destroyed grain silo in the center with the warehouse with the explosives on the left - which has now completely disappeared

An aerial view of the port before the explosion shows the now destroyed grain silo in the center with the warehouse with the explosives on the left – which has now completely disappeared

An aerial view shows the massive damage to the grain silos of the port of Beirut and the surrounding area

An aerial view shows the massive damage to the grain silos of the port of Beirut and the surrounding area

The governor of Beirut estimated that the damage from the explosion would cost Lebanon up to $ 5 billion because it destroyed the port through which many of its valuable imports went (leftovers of the port and a destroyed grain silo) .

The governor of Beirut estimated that the damage from the explosion would cost Lebanon up to $ 5 billion because it destroyed the port through which many of its valuable imports went (leftovers of the port and a destroyed grain silo) .

A survivor of the explosion in Beirut is pulled out of the rubble of a building torn apart and torn apart by a shock wave that echoed in the city

A survivor of the explosion in Beirut is pulled out of the rubble of a building torn apart and torn apart by a shock wave that echoed in the city

Soldiers dig picks through the rubble of buildings in Beirut on Wednesday, desperately looking for survivors

Soldiers dig picks through the rubble of buildings in Beirut on Wednesday, desperately looking for survivors

Lebanese soldiers are patrolling the streets of Beirut on Wednesday to keep peace after an explosion tore the city apart

Lebanese soldiers are patrolling the streets of Beirut on Wednesday to keep peace after an explosion tore the city apart

After a massive explosion in the Lebanese capital, a woman is evacuated from the partially destroyed Beirut district in Mar Mikhael

After a massive explosion in the Lebanese capital, a woman is evacuated from the partially destroyed Beirut district in Mar Mikhael

Thousands of people were made homeless by the explosion, which threatened a mass exodus from the Mediterranean that was already suffering from coronavirus, poor governance and an economic crisis.

"We have had a few dark days in Lebanon over the years, but that's different," said Rami Rifai, a 38-year-old engineer, with AFP from a hospital where his two daughters were treated after being treated despite cuts had been half a kilometer from the seat of the explosion.

& # 39; We already had the economic crisis, a government of thieves and corona viruses. I didn't think it could get worse, but now I don't know if this country can get up again. Everyone will try to go. I'll try to go, ”he said in a tearful voice.

When the explosion took place, firefighters were already on site to deal with the first fire. A security source told Reuters that the first fire was caused while welding a hole in a warehouse wall.

According to sources, the fire started in camp 9 of the port and spread to camp 12, where the ammonium nitrate was stored.

An Israeli bomb expert suggested that firecrackers could be stored in one of the warehouses near the ammonium nitrate.

Explosives Certification Expert Boaz Hayoun said, "Before the big explosion … in the middle of the fire you can see sparks, you can hear popcorn sounds and you can hear pipes. This is a very specific behavior of fireworks. & # 39;

A shock wave caused by the explosion hardly left a building in the city untouched. Damages were reported up to 24 km away

A shock wave caused by the explosion hardly left a building in the city untouched. Damages were reported up to 24 km away

Survivors of the explosion walk through the city streets, looking for victims amid the ruins of their old neighborhoods

Survivors of the explosion walk through the city streets, looking for victims amid the ruins of their old neighborhoods

Wounds are treated after the explosion in a hospital that killed hundreds of victims in Beirut last night

Wounds are treated after the explosion in a hospital that killed hundreds of victims in Beirut last night

Men gather on a street near the destroyed port as they search the ruins of Beirut to save what they can

Men gather on a street near the destroyed port as they search the ruins of Beirut to save what they can

A destroyed facade of a building can be seen after the explosion on Tuesday. Rescuers worked all night to find people in the midst of the devastation

A destroyed facade of a building can be seen after the explosion on Tuesday. Rescuers worked all night to find people in the midst of the devastation

Police and forensics work at the site of an explosion on Wednesday morning, and rescuers continue to search for survivors

Police and forensics work at the site of an explosion on Wednesday morning, and rescuers continue to search for survivors

The previous day, Lebanese President Michel Aoun (center) visited the site of a massive explosion in the heart of Beirut

The previous day, Lebanese President Michel Aoun (center) visited the site of a massive explosion in the heart of Beirut

After the second, more devastating explosion, images showed port buildings reduced to tangled masonry and devastated the main entry point into a country that relies on food imports to feed its more than six million people.

Ammonium nitrate – the terrorist's bomb component

Ammonium nitrate – identified as the cause of the deadly explosion in Beirut – is an odorless crystalline substance that is used as a fertilizer and has been behind many industrial explosions and terrorist attacks for decades.

Two tons of it was used to produce the bomb in the 1995 Oklahoma City attack that destroyed a federal building and killed 168 people. The Taliban have often used them in improvised devices.

Experts say a fire in Beirut started after a welder's spark probably ignited the highly reactive chemical, causing an explosion of three million kilotons of TNT that killed at least 100 people and injured thousands more.

At the time of the explosion, 2,750 tons of the dangerous chemical were in the warehouse – that corresponds to an earthquake of 3.5.

Death and injury from the explosion would be, according to Dr. David Caldicott from the Australian National University entered in several phases.

& # 39; Primary injuries are explosion-related as a result of the overpressure wave that interacts with the victim's cavity. Lung injuries are often survived but are subsequently fatal and bowel injuries are common.

Secondary injuries are caused by debris flying around; effectively environmental shrapnel.

"Tertiary injuries are a result of the explosion and quaternary injuries from other characteristics such as inhalation."

In combination with heating oils, ammonium nitrate produces a powerful explosive that is widely used in the construction industry, but also by insurgent groups for the production of bombs.

In addition to the Oklahoma City bomb in the United States, it was used in a number of IRA attacks on Britain.

These include the Bishopsgate attack in April 1993, which left 40 injured and a 40-foot wide crater, and a bomb in Manchester in June 1996, in which 2,000 injured, but no deaths from a telephone warning an hour before the explosion.

In agriculture, ammonium nitrate fertilizer is applied in granular form and dissolves quickly under moisture, so that nitrogen can be released into the soil.

However, under normal storage conditions and without very high heat, ammonium nitrate is difficult to ignite, said Jimmie Oxley, chemistry professor at the University of Rhode Island.

"When you watch the video (of the explosion in Beirut), you saw the black smoke, you saw the red smoke – that was an incomplete reaction," she said.

"I'm assuming there was a small explosion that triggered the ammonium nitrate reaction – whether that small explosion was an accident or something that I haven't heard on purpose."

This is because ammonium nitrate is an oxidizing agent – it increases combustion and makes other substances ignite more easily, but is itself not very flammable.

For these reasons, there are generally very strict rules about where it can be stored: for example, it must be kept away from fuels and heat sources.

In fact, many countries in the European Union require that ammonium nitrate be added to calcium carbonate to produce calcium ammonium nitrate, which is safer.

In the United States, regulations were tightened significantly after the attack on Oklahoma City. Inspections are required if more than £ 2,000 of it is stored in one place.

Charbel Haj, who works at the port, said the explosion started as small explosions like firecrackers before he was suddenly thrown off my feet by the tremendous explosion.

The explosion damaged the Roum Hospital, where people were asked to bring backup generators to keep the electricity running while the patients were being evacuated for serious damage.

In front of St. George University Hospital in Beirut's Achrafieh district, people with various injuries arrived in ambulances, cars and on foot.

The explosion had caused great damage inside the building and cut off the electricity in the hospital. Dozens of injuries were treated outside on stretchers and wheelchairs.

The Red Cross in Lebanon said it drowned on calls to injured people, many of whom are still trapped in their homes.

Miles from the explosion site, balconies were torn down, the ceiling collapsed, and the windows broken.

Beirut's main airport, six miles from the port, has been reportedly damaged by the explosion. Pictures show parts of the collapsed ceiling.

Beirut's governor told journalists he did not know the cause of the explosion and said he had never seen such destruction before by comparing the sobering scenes to Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Local Fady Roumieh was standing in the parking lot of ABC Mall Achrafieh, about 2 km east of the explosion when the explosion took place.

He said, "It was like an atomic bomb. The damage is so widespread and serious across the city.

& # 39; Some buildings up to 2 km have partially collapsed. It's like a war zone. The damage is extreme. Not a single glass window intact. & # 39;

A soldier in the port, where relatives of the missing people searched for messages about their loved ones, said, “It's a disaster inside. There are corpses on the floor. Ambulances are still lifting the dead. & # 39;

A woman in her twenties shouted at security forces and asked about the fate of her brother, a port employee.

"His name is Jad, his eyes are green," she pleaded in vain when the officials refused to enter.

"It was like an atomic bomb," said Makrouhie Yerganian, a retired school teacher in her mid-70s who has lived near the port for decades.

"I've seen it all, but I've never experienced anything like it," she said even during the civil war from 1975 to 1990.

"All of the buildings here have collapsed."

A witness said: “I saw a fireball and smoke rising over Beirut. People screamed and ran and bled.

& # 39; Balconies were blown up by buildings. Glass in high-rise buildings shattered and fell onto the street. & # 39;

Rami Rifai, a 38-year-old engineer from a hospital where his two daughters were treated for cut injuries even though they were half a kilometer from the site of the explosion, said, “We have had some dark days in Lebanon over the years, but that is something else.

& # 39; We already had the economic crisis, a government of thieves and corona viruses. I didn't think it could get worse, but now I don't know if this country can get up again. Everyone will try to go. I'll try to go, ”he said in a tearful voice.

A resident of Mar Mikhail, one of the hardest hit neighborhoods, said she saw corpses in the middle of the street, apparently thrown by the explosion of balconies and roofs.

Long after the explosion, ambulance sirens sounded in the city and helicopters hovered over them.

The residents said glass had been broken in houses from Raouche on the western tip of the Mediterranean city to Rabieh (10 km east).

And on Cyprus, a Mediterranean island 180 km northwest of Beirut, residents reported that they heard two large ponies in quick succession.

A resident of Nicosia, the capital, said his home was trembling and rattling with shutters.

"We have no information about what exactly happened, what caused it, whether it's an accidental or artificial act," he said.

Wounded men are evacuated after an explosion in the port of the Lebanese capital Beirut

Wounded men are evacuated after an explosion in the port of the Lebanese capital Beirut

The explosion tore a huge hole in the middle of this building when a man inspects the front damage

The explosion tore a huge hole in the middle of this building when a man inspects the front damage

Lebanese firefighters are working at the explosion site in Beirut harbor, Beirut, after the massive explosion last night

Lebanese firefighters are working at the explosion site in Beirut harbor, Beirut, after the massive explosion last night

After the explosion in Beirut on Tuesday, a blood-stained injured man can be seen in Beirut

After the explosion in Beirut on Tuesday, a blood-stained injured man can be seen in Beirut

A man reacts to an explosion in the port of the Lebanese capital Beirut on August 4

A man reacts to an explosion in the port of the Lebanese capital Beirut on August 4

Glass is broken by the explosion at the Cavalier Hotel in Beirut after the explosion

Glass is broken by the explosion at the Cavalier Hotel in Beirut after the explosion

Pictures show the scene of an explosion in the port of the Lebanese capital Beirut that devastated the surrounding buildings

Pictures show the scene of an explosion in the port of the Lebanese capital Beirut that devastated the surrounding buildings

Firefighters spray water on a fire after an explosion was heard in Beirut

Firefighters spray water on a fire after an explosion was heard in Beirut

Condolences came from all over the world, and the Gulf States, the United States, and even the archenemy of Lebanon, Israel, offered to send help. France also promised to send help.

The explosion brought back memories of a civil war from 1975 to 1990 and its aftermath when the Lebanese suffered grenades, car bombs and Israeli air strikes. Some residents thought an earthquake had struck.

& # 39; The explosion knocked me out meters away. I was dazed and covered in blood. It brought back the vision of another explosion that I witnessed against the US Embassy in 1983, ”said Huda Baroudi, a designer from Beirut.

UN chief Antonio Guterres expressed his "deepest condolences … after the terrible explosions in Beirut", which he said had also injured some United Nations personnel.

Boris Johnson offered to help the country affected by the crisis and tweeted: “The pictures and videos from Beirut tonight are shocking.

All my thoughts and prayers are with those who are involved in this terrible incident. Britain is ready to provide assistance in every possible way, including for the British nationals concerned. "

The UK Foreign Office has said that some of its embassy staff were not injured in a life-threatening manner in the explosion.

Union leader Sir Keir Starmer said in a tweet: “The images of explosions in Beirut are deeply worrying. Our thoughts are with those affected, the emergency services and the people in Lebanon. & # 39;

Offers of help also came from bitter rivals Israel, with whom it is still technically at war.

Defense Minister Benny Gantz and Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi have offered the Lebanese government medical and humanitarian aid and immediate emergency relief through international mediators on behalf of the State of Israel, ”the two ministries said in a joint statement.

Last week, Israel accused the Lebanese group Hezbollah of attempting to send armed men across the United Nations' Blue Line and said it had blamed the Lebanese government for a so-called "terrorist attack".

Hezbollah said all of the country's political powers must join forces to overcome the "painful disaster."

French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said that France was "next to Lebanon" and was ready to help and tweeted: "France is and will always stand by Lebanon and the Lebanese. It is ready to provide aid in accordance with those of to meet the needs of the Lebanese authorities.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo tweeted: "We are monitoring and ready to help the Lebanese people as they recover from this terrible tragedy."

The Iranian foreign minister has said he is ready to help Lebanon recover from the aftermath of the explosion.

The Gulf States paid tribute to the victims of the explosion when Qatar said it would send field hospitals to aid Lebanon's medical response.

Qatar ruler Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani called President Michel Aoun to offer his condolences, according to the Qatar state news agency.

Sheikh Tamim wished "an early recovery of the injured" and added that he "expressed Qatar's solidarity with brotherly Lebanon and its willingness to provide all kinds of help".

Elsewhere on the Gulf, United States' Foreign Minister Anwar Gargash tweeted that "our heart is with Beirut and its people".

He posted the tribute next to a picture of the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, the tallest building in the world, illuminated in the colors of the Lebanese flag.

"Our prayers in these difficult hours are that God … protect the brotherly Lebanon and the Lebanese to alleviate their suffering and heal their wounds," he wrote.

The Gulf States, including Qatar and the United Arab Emirates, have close ties to Beirut and have long provided financial and diplomatic assistance to help spread Lebanon's political and sectarian divisions.

The Bahraini Ministry of Foreign Affairs urged its nationals in Lebanon to contact the ministry's operations center or Manama's representative in Beirut, while Kuwait ordered its citizens to exercise extreme caution and stay inside.

It is only a few days before a United Nations tribunal will rule on the murder of the country's former prime minister, Rafik Hariri.

The house of his son Saad Hariri, who also ran the country, was damaged by the explosion, but was confirmed safe.

Save the Children said in a statement that members of their local team destroyed entire streets in the city and failed to report children.

Although the city's charity offices are badly damaged, they have agreed that a quick response team is ready to offer support.

Jad Sakr, country director of Save the Children’s in Lebanon, said: “We are shocked and devastated by today's explosion.

“The death toll may not be known for several days, but we know that such a disaster can injure, shock, and separate children from their parents.

“Our child protection teams are ready to support government efforts that are almost certain to continue for a few more days.

"It is important that children and their families have access to the services they urgently need, including medical care and physical and emotional protection."

He added: “The event could not have occurred at worst and has affected communities that have already suffered from the effects of the Covid 19 crisis and the deteriorating economy.

"Beirut's main port, which is now completely damaged, is vital to much of the food, grain and fuel that Lebanon imports, and families will immediately feel the need for basic needs as a result of this tragedy."

As a Lebanese start, dozens are missing a desperate search for loved ones

Dozens of people were reported missing after a catastrophic explosion in Beirut when Lebanese desperately asked for information about their relatives.

After the tragedy, an Instagram page entitled "Localize victims in Beirut" was created with pictures of people whose fate was unknown – including dock workers and firefighters who rushed to the first fire before the major explosion.

People also flocked to emergency rooms where some of the 4,000 people injured in the explosion were arrested and hoped for news.

Marwan Chamaouni

Leila Nasser Fawaz

Marwan Chamaouni (left) and Leila Nasser Fawaz (right) were reported missing by the Lebanese media after the explosion in Beirut, which killed at least 100 people

Ralph Mallahi

Ralph Mallahi

A firefighter named Ralph Mallahi (left and right) was also listed online among the missing. Relatives said he was sent to the site of the first fire before the main explosion and has not been seen since

At least 100 people have been confirmed dead in the explosion, although this number is expected to increase further.

The intensity of the explosion threw the victims into the sea and rescue teams were still trying to recover bodies. Many of the casualties were port and customs workers, as well as people who worked in the area or who passed through during rush hour.

The Red Cross coordinated the establishment of morgues with the Ministry of Health because the hospitals were overwhelmed.

Search and rescue teams also came through the rubble of surrounding neighborhoods in the hope of finding survivors, pulling at least one person out of a destroyed home.

The port district was hit by a muddled wreck, disabling the nation's main route for imports required to feed a nation of more than 6 million people.

Lebanon already has problems receiving and feeding hundreds of thousands of refugees from Syria.

Hassan Zaiter, 32, manager at the severely damaged Le Gray hotel in downtown Beirut, said: "This explosion seals the collapse of Lebanon."

Ali Abbas Ismael

Marwan Chamouni

Online appeals were also brought against Ali Abbas Ismael (left) and Marwan Chamouni (right), who could not be found after the explosion

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