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Beirut blast — what we know so far

Lebanon is in mourning after a huge explosion at the port of Beirut devastated the capital, with at least 100 people dead and 4,000 others injured. Many more are unaccounted for

Investigations are already being carried out into the circumstances surrounding a huge blast that tore through Lebanon's capital with the force of an earthquake, killing dozens of people and injuring thousands more. While many questions remain, some facts are already known

WHAT we know so far about the Beirut explosion:

• The initial large explosion in the port area of Beirut happened around 1800 hrs local time (1500 hrs GMT) on August 4. There followed a colossal blast that flattened the harbour front and surrounding buildings.

• The blast was measured by seismologists as the equivalent of a 3.5-magnitude earthquake. It was felt in Cyprus, 160 km (100 miles) away.

• The blasts killed more than 100 people and injured over 4,000, according to the Lebanese Red Cross.

• Social media video footage and images showed a fire in the city's port area after a dark cloud rising from the port. The explosion created a large white cloud that enveloped the area.

• The shockwave rocked a large area of Beirut, with many of the injured suffering cuts after windows were shattered.

• Many of the victims are thought to have been port and customs employees and people working in the area.

• A number of Beirut port officials are being placed under house arrest pending an investigation into Tuesday's huge explosion, Lebanon's government says.

• Lebanon’s national defence council has declared Beirut a disaster zone.

• Lebanon’s Prime Minister Hassan Diab said 2,750 tonnes of ammonium nitrate being stored in a portside warehouse had blown up.

• Lebanon’s General Security chief Abbas Ibrahim said the ammonium nitrate  had been confiscated in 2013 and stored in the warehouse.

• A security source, and media, said one possible cause of the explosion was welding work said to have been carried out on the warehouse.

• Lebanon’s President Michel Aoun said the government was “determined to investigate and expose what happened as soon as possible, to hold the responsible and the negligent accountable, and to sanction them with the most severe punishment”.

• Hangars around the port were destroyed and much of the city was left strewn with damaged vehicles and debris.

• Beirut’s city governor Marwan Abboud said between 200,000 and 250,000 people had lost their homes.

• The US, France, Qatar, Iran and Israel have offered to send emergency aid.

• The Associated Press published drone footage showing destroyed and damaged silos which are believed to have held around 85% of Lebanon’s grain.

• Ammonium nitrate is an industrial chemical commonly used as fertilizer for plants and can be used to make explosives. It will burn if contaminated with combustible material. 

• Lebanon’s Supreme Defence Council has called for a committee to be set up to investigate the explosion, Al-Jazeera reported.

• The Supreme Defence Council has recommended declaring a two-week state of emergency in Beirut.

• The explosion came days before a United Nation-backed court delivers a verdict in the trial of four suspects over the 2005 bombing that killed former Prime Minister Rafik al-Hariri and 21 others. Mr Hariri was killed by a truck bomb about 2 km from Beirut port.

• There is no evidence that the explosion was a terror-related attack.

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