Scores of people have been reported dead and dozens of others injured after massive explosions rocked Lebanon capital, Beirut, halting activities in the country.
Aside from the injured, several other residents were reportedly trapped beneath the rubble and atleast 10 firefighters missing after the blast that was attributed to confiscated explosive materials by the government.
The explosion which damaged several buildings in the city on Tuesday occurred barely three days to the date fixed by a United Nation (UN) tribunal for declaration of its verdict on trial of four suspects in the murder by car bomb of the former Prime Minister, Rafik Hariri.
As gathered, the explosion blew out several windows and doors as a giant mushroom cloud rose above the capital, forcing residents to scamper for safety.
The cause of the blast was not immediately clear but came amid rising tensions between Israel and the militant Hezbollah group along Lebanon’s southern border.
Confirming the blast, Lebanese Prime Minister Hassan Diab has declared Wednesday a day of national mourning in the aftermath of Tuesday’s massive explosion in the Beirut port area.
On the missing firefighters, Beirut city’s governor, Marwan Abboud, who described the scene as a reminder of Hiroshima and Nagasaki explosion several decades ago, stated that they were discovered missing few minutes after leaving their office to put out the fire from the explosion.
“We do not know if the fire caused the explosion but all we know presently was that there was a fire, the [firefighters] came to put it out, then the explosion happened and they went missing. We are looking for them.
“It resembles to what happened in Japan, in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. That’s what [it] reminds me of. In my life, I haven’t seen destruction on this scale,” he added