Massive explosion near port area rocks Lebanon's capital city of Beirut

Beirut blast

A large explosion is seen in a port area of Beirut Lebanon on Aug. 4 2020

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

The Armenian-populated districts were heavily damaged in the explosions.

A terror attack may be unfolding in Lebanon.

The verdict is due on Friday.

An eyewitness told Reuters news agency, "I saw a fireball and smoke billowing over Beirut".

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Israel's Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi told a local television channel that it was too early to speculate on the causes of the blast and that there was no reason to believe it was not an accident. Army helicopters helped battle fires raging at the port.

Sky News' Middle East editor Zein Ja'far, who was in downtown Beirut at the time of the explosion on Tuesday afternoon, said the "huge explosion" caused windows to "cave in".

It's unclear if the protests were linked to the explosion.

"This could just be a ideal storm of noise", Daoud added.

"We faced wars ... we survived many explosions". The Lebanese Air Force, however, had not reported any Israeli activity in its airspace since Monday night.

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An Al-Mayadeen pointed out that the explosion occurred in warehouse No. 12 in the harbor, adding that benzene was stored there.

A huge cloud of black smoke was engulfing the entire port area, according to report. Beirut City's Governor Marwan Aboud likened the blast to "Hiroshima", and the intensity of what's visible in video clips suggests that it wasn't much of an exaggeration.

Four alleged members of the Shiite Muslim movement Hezbollah are on trial in absentia at a court in the Netherlands over the huge Beirut bombing that killed Sunni billionaire Hariri and 21 other people. A number of buildings, namely windows, were destroyed in the explosion.

The first explosion, might have triggered the second, larger, explosion of the chemical.

Israel and Lebanon's Hezbollah militant group are bitter enemies, and tensions have been high following a series of recent clashes. Hours after the explosion, ambulances were still carrying away the wounded.

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