'Deaths and hundreds wounded' in Beirut blasts

By Ruth Nasejje

Lebanon's Prime Minister Hasan Diab has declared Wednesday a day of mourning, and President Michel Aoun called for "urgent" defence council talks.

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The powerful explosions that rocked the port of Beirut on Tuesday left "people dead and injured", the Lebanon's National News Agency reported.

Georges Kettaneh, the president of the Lebanese Red Cross, referred to "hundreds of wounded" in a statement on Lebanese LBC television, adding: "We are overwhelmed by phone calls."

Lebanon's Prime Minister Hasan Diab has declared Wednesday a day of mourning, and President Michel Aoun called for "urgent" defence council talks.

General Security chief Abbas Ibrahim has said this might have been caused by explosive materials confiscated years ago and stored at the city's port. 

"It appears that there is a warehouse containing material that was confiscated years ago, and it appears that it was highly explosive material," the senior security official said, adding that an investigation would be launched into the explosions.

A picture shows the scene of an explosion in Beirut.
Lebanese army soldiers stand while behind a helicopter puts out a fire at the scene of an explosion at the port of Lebanon's capital Beirut.
A picture shows the scene of an explosion at the port in Beirut.
Firefighters evacuate a wounded man from the scene of an explosion at the port in Beirut.
Lebanese army soldiers carry away an injured man at the scene of an explosion at the port of Lebanon's capital Beirut.
A wounded man is evacuated by boat following of an explosion near the the port in the Lebanese capital Beirut.
People gather by cars destroyed following an explosion at the port of Lebanon's capital Beirut.