Videos appearing on social media show a massive cloud of smoke billowing into the sky as two explosions rocked the Port of Beirut, Lebanon, today, causing massive damage and multiple injuries with local blood banks appealing for donors to come forward as supplies ran low. The blast rattled windows as far away as Nicosia, Cyprus.
Lebanon’s National News Agency says that the explosions came after a fire broke out at a warehouse in the Port of Beirut.
Israeli newspaper Haaretz cites Lebanon’s internal security chief, Abbas Ibrahim, as saying that the blast occurred in a section housing highly explosive materials, but declining to speculate about the cause of the explosions, saying “we cannot preempt investigations.”
Maritime security specialist Dryad Global says that eyewitness observers, social media footage and local intelligence sources all confirm that a large “shockwave” was observed, and caused significant structural damage to nearby buildings, with the blast radius extending at least 5-10 kilometers from the epicenter of the explosion.
There is currently no suggestion that vessels positioned at berths in the vicinity of the blast have experienced damage as a result of this incident, says Dryad Global, adding that local sources have stated that almost all of the port logistical infrastructure has been destroyed and that the status of vessels alongside remains unknown.