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UPDATED 5/8 at 10:59 a.m. ET: According to CNN's most recent update, over 100 people have been confirmed dead, with at least 4000 injured. A search is currently underway for the many people who are still missing.
Officials who are thought to be responsible for the explosion—which is believed to have been caused by 2750 tons of ammonium nitrate that were being stored in a warehouse—will be placed under house arrest while the investigation gets underway, the Lebanese Minister of Displaced People Ghada Shreim said.
UPDATED at 5:58 p.m. ET: Lebanon's health ministry confirmed that at least 73 people have died and more than 3,000 others were injured in Beirut's massive explosions Tuesday.
The cause of the blasts is still unclear, but Lebanon's chief of General Security, Abbas Ibrahim, said "highly explosive materials" confiscated by the government were stored at the explosion sites. While some officials have played down terrorist attack speculations, Prime Minister Hassan Diab vowed to punish those who were responsible for the tragedy.
"What happened today will not come to pass without accountability," Diab said, according to the New York Times. "Those responsible will pay a price for this catastrophe.” he said. “This is a promise to the martyrs and wounded people. This is a national commitment."
Beirut has since been declared a "disaster zone."
A number of neighboring countries have show support for Lebanon. The Burj Khalifa in Dubia and the pyramids in Egypt were lit up with the colors of Lebanon's flag.
See the original story below.
A large explosion was reported in the Lebanese capital of Beirut on Tuesday.
Early reports, including a rundown of what's currently known about the incident via journalist Joyce Karam, said that it's believed that the explosion—which some have reported as being two separate explosions within minutes of each other—occurred near the Beirut port. Other outlets—including BBC News—stated that word of a second blast was thus far "unconfirmed."
In some footage, however, you can see smoke billowing out of a structure before a blast is seen and heard, at which point the person holding the camera appears to take shelter. Several reports also noted that local media was linking the explosion to a blaze that broke out at a fireworks warehouse.
Multiple buildings, including a regional CNN bureau and the headquarters of former Prime Minister Saad Hariri, are said to have been damaged. Many people have also reportedly been injured, though preliminary information—aside from widely shared footage—was minimal. Area hospitals, already dealing with COVID-19, are now calling for blood donations.
Later this week, a verdict in the trial in absentia centered on the killing of former Lebanon Prime Minister (and Saad Hariri's father) Rafic Hariri is expected to be announced.