Widespread damage after huge explosion in Beirut – BBC News

A large blast has hit the Lebanese capital, Beirut, causing widespread damage and injuring many people, officials say.

It is not yet clear what caused the explosion in the port area of the city. Video posted online showed a large mushroom cloud and destroyed buildings.

Hospitals are said to be overwhelmed by casualties.

It comes at a sensitive time with the country’s economic collapse reigniting old tensions.

Tensions are also high ahead of the verdict in a trial over the killing of ex-PM Rafik Hariri in 2005. A UN tribunal is due to issue its verdict in the trial of four suspects in the murder by car bomb of Hariri on Friday.

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Lebanon’s health minister, Hamad Hasan, has spoken of many injuries and extensive damage.

Reuters news agency quotes sources as saying 10 bodies have been pulled from the wreckage.

The cause of the explosion is still not known, but some reports suggest it may have been an accident. Lebanon’s National News Agency reported a fire breaking out at what it called an explosives depot at the port.

In This Story: Lebanon

Lebanon, officially known as the Lebanese Republic, is a country in the Levant region of Western Asia, and the transcontinental region of the Middle East.

The official language, Arabic, is the most common language spoken by the citizens of Lebanon. Its capital is Beirut.

Lebanon was a founding member of the United Nations in 1945 and is a member of the Arab League (1945), the Non-Aligned Movement (1961), Organisation of the Islamic Cooperation (1969), and the Organisation internationale de la francophonie (1973).

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