A massive blast ripped through the Lebanese capital Beirut on Tuesday, injuring many people and blowing out windows in buildings across the city.
Hundreds of people have been wounded in a massive explosion at Beirut’s port, Lebanese Health Minster Hamad Hassan
The blasts were heard as far away as Nicosia on the eastern Mediterranean island of Cyprus, 240 kilometres (150 miles) away.
The explosion released a shockwave causing widespread damage to buildings and shattering windows in different parts of the city.
Another Reuters witness said they saw heavy grey smoke near the port area and then heard an explosion and saw flames of fire and black smoke, “All the downtown area windows are smashed and there are wounded people walking around. It is total chaos.”
Lebanon`s internal security chief Abbas Ibrahim said that a massive blast in Beirut`s port area occurred in a section housing highly-explosive materials, and not explosive as had been reported earlier by the official state news agency NNA.
An AFP correspondent at the scene said every shop in the Hamra commercial district had sustained damage, with entire shopfronts destroyed, windows shattered and many cars wrecked.
Injured people were walking in the street, while outside the Clemenceau Medical Centre, dozens of wounded people, many covered in blood, were rushing to be admitted to the centre, including children.
Destroyed cars had been abandoned in the street with their airbags inflated.
A huge cloud of black smoke was engulfing the entire port area, the AFP correspondent said.