Hundreds injured and 10 bodies pulled from the wreckage in the Lebanese capital Beirut

Hundreds injured and 10 bodies pulled from the wreckage in the Lebanese capital Beirut

Hundreds injured and 10 bodies pulled from the wreckage in the Lebanese capital Beirut
Hundreds have been injured and 10 bodies have been pulled from the wreckage in the Lebanese capital, Beirut which occoured from a large blast . It is not yet clear what caused the explosion in the port region. Videos posted online showed a column of smoke followed by a large mushroom cloud. Hospitals are said to be overwhelmed and many buildings have been destroyed. Lebanon's internal security chief said the blast happened in an area housing highly explosive materials.

A source at the scene reported dead bodies and severe damage, enough to put the port out of action. Reuters news agency quotes sources as saying 10 bodies have been pulled from the wreckage. The explosion comes at a sensitive time for Lebanon, with an unprecedented economic crisis reigniting old divisions. Tensions are also high ahead of Friday's verdict in a trial over the killing of ex-Prime Minister Rafik Hariri in 2005.

Health Minister Hamad Hasan has spoken of many injuries, and the Lebanese Red Cross says hundreds of people have been taken to hospital. A large building in the port, which is close to the city centre, was blown apart.Some reports suggest the explosion may have been an accident. Lebanon's National News Agency reported a fire breaking out at what it called an explosives depot at the port before the explosion.

Local media showed people trapped beneath rubble. A witness described the first explosion as deafening, and video footage showed wrecked cars and blast-damaged buildings. President Michel Aoun called for an emergency meeting of the Supreme Defence Council, the presidency said on Twitter. Wednesday has been declared a day of mourning, the prime minister said.
UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said the government was "ready to offer help and support" while French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said France was also ready to offer assistance.

What's The Situation In Lebanon?
Lebanon is experiencing political turmoil, with street demonstrations against the government's handling of the worst economic crisis since the 1975-1990 civil war.Many blame the ruling elite who have dominated politics for years and amassed their own wealth while failing to carry out the sweeping reforms necessary to solve the country's problems. People have to deal with daily power cuts, a lack of safe drinking water and limited public healthcare.

There has also been tension on the border with Israel, which said last week that it had thwarted an attempt by Hezbollah to infiltrate Israeli territory. But a senior Israeli official has said that "Israel has no connection" to the Beirut blast.

The blast happened close to the scene of a huge car bombing which killed ex-PM Rafik Hariri in 2005. Tuesday's blast also came days before the long-awaited verdict in the trial at a special court in the Netherlands of four men accused of orchestrating the attack.