Foreign Policy
Wed Aug 05, 2020 1:13
Interior Minister Offers Condolences to Lebanese Counterpart over Beirut Blast
TEHRAN (FNA)- Iranian Interior Minister Abdolreza Rahmani Fazli sympathized with his Lebanese counterpart over the huge explosion in Beirut, and underlined his country’s preparedness to render any assistance.

Rahmani-Fazli in a letter to Lebanese Interior Minister Mohammed Fahmi on Tuesday night, condoled with the Lebanese people who have been seriously afflicted by the deadly blast in the capital, Beirut.

The Interior Ministry is fully ready to offer every kind of assistance to the victims within the framework of the Iranian government’s policies, the letter added.

A massive explosion rocked the Lebanese capital of Beirut on Tuesday, killing over 100 people, wounding over 5,000 others, and smashing a vast area.

Terrifying footage showed a huge mushroom cloud of fire and smoke covering much of Beirut’s port area, blowing out windows and destroying buildings in the neighborhood, as a warehouse at the Beirut docks caught fire on Tuesday afternoon.

Photos on social media showed many buildings in the area damaged or destroyed, leaving residents covered in glass and blood.

Several smaller explosions were heard before the bigger one occurred and turned the city’s streets into a debris-strewn wasteland.

In addition to local authorities, more than 30 Red Cross teams are responding at the scene of the blast.

Health Minister Hamad Hassan blamed the explosion on a fireworks accident, ordering all hospitals in Beirut to prepare for the victims of the incident.

Head of the Lebanese Red Cross George Kettaneh also stated that hundreds of injured people were taken to hospital for treatment, while some still remain trapped in their homes.

Hotel Dieu Hospital in Beirut reported it was treating more than 500 injuries and was not able to receive more. Tens of injured needed operations, the hospital said appealing for blood donations. Rizq Hospital also said that it has admitted 400 wounded people.

The health ministry said all Beirut hospitals are overcrowded with those injured in the incident and can no more accommodate anyone.

Yet, the health minister told Lebanon's LBC News that hundreds are feared dead and thousands have been wounded in the blast. He added that the death toll now stands at over 100.

The Lebanese Red Cross also declared that over 5,000 people have been wounded in the incident, while the numbers are still expected to rise. It added that over 100 dead bodies have been collected from the scene of the incident so far.

Beirut Governor Marwan Abboud called it a "national catastrophe" and Prime Minister Hassan Diab declared a day of mourning.

“It resembles to what happened in Japan, in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. That’s what [it] reminds me of. In my life, I haven’t seen destruction on this scale," Abboud added.

Badri Zaher, Director General of the Lebanese Customs House, declared that dozens of tons of nitrate had exploded in the port of Beirut.

Lebanese General Security Director Abbas Ibrahim also dismissed rumors of Israeli involvement, noting that a large cache of highly explosive sodium nitrate was stored at the site, after being confiscated off a ship several months ago. But he did not explain how the fire has started.

Early reports said a short-circuit has likely sparked fire at the warehouse where the huge sodium nitrate cargo was kept and fire later spread to an adjacent warehouse where a huge cargo of fireworks was stored.

Yet, there is still no official report on the exact cause of the blast, while a UN spokesperson told reporters that his organization is still unsure whether the explosion was "an accidental or man-made act".

Later, the Israeli Defense Force denied responsibility for the massive explosions in Beirut. Hezbollah has also denied the blasts were the result of a rocket attack.

 

 

 

 

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