update-2: Amid widespread speculation and multiple theories over what could have produced late afternoon blast of such magnitude, both Hezbollah and Israel have formally denied that it was the result of a missile or military attack.
Russian media reports have cited Israeli broadcasters to say:
Israel has nothing to do with the massive explosion that rocked Beirut on 4 August, the country’s parliamentary TV channel has announced.
Lebanese state sources have pointed to a large fireworks depot going up in flames, then detonating. However, there remain competing claims and speculation.
This is horrific, and the clearest video I’ve seen so far of what seems to have happened in Beirut. There’s a smaller fire involving what seems to be fireworks first, and then everything goes up. pic.twitter.com/qsEmH1IbUi
— Rachael Venables (@rachaelvenables) August 4, 2020
Local authorities have yet to assess and produce a death toll, which is tragically expected to be high.
Iconic parts of the city appear to be devastated.
Import to note amidst confusion, chaos & conspiracy theories.
Only thing confirmed thus far is the tragic magnitude of destruction pic.twitter.com/gXIiPwRi69
— Firas Maksad (@FirasMaksad) August 4, 2020
The Lebanese Red Cross has issued an urgent appeal for blood donations inside Lebanon.
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update: It appears confirmed that the source of the massive blast that rocked Beirut and grabbed the world’s attention was centered on a fireworks depot. Mideast war correspondent Jenan Moussa reports:
Beirut governor Marwan Aboud calls the explosion a ‘national disaster akin to Hiroshima.’
The explosion could be seen and felt for dozens of miles around the Lebanese capital, leaving onlookers in shock. It was so massive a small mushroom cloud could be seen over the city, and it was felt in Cyprus.