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Death toll rises after explosion in Beirut

Lebanese Red Cross says at least 100 people have been killed and over 4,000 wounded in the massive explosion at a port in Beirut.

The death toll from a massive explosion that rocked Beirut has reached at least 100 and more victims are under the rubble.

Head of Lebanese Red Cross, George Kettaneh, told local TV on Wednesday that his organisation were coordinating with the health ministry for morgues to take victims because hospitals were overwhelmed.

A civil defence official on the scene of the blast said his men had evacuated dozens to hospitals, but there were still bodies inside the port, many of them under debris.

Confiscated ammonium nitrate

Lebanon’s Prime Minister Hassan Diab said that those responsible for an explosion at a “dangerous” warehouse in Beirut port area that rocked the capital would pay the price.

Later, the country’s Supreme Defence Council in its meeting recommended declaring Beirut a disaster-stricken city, declaring a two-week state of emergency in the capital and handing over security responsibility to military authorities.

Interior Minister Mohammed Fahmi speaking to local media said the explosion took place in a depot storing confiscated ammonium nitrate.

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.

“It appears that there is a warehouse containing material that was confiscated years ago, and it appears that it was highly explosive material,” the senior security official said, adding that an investigation would be launched into the explosions.

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