A MASSIVE explosion has killed at least ten people and left hundreds injured after the blast devastated part of Lebanon’s capital Beirut.
Pictures show buildings destroyed, people walking wounded, and a sea of wreckage after the blast that could be heard some 125 miles away in Cyprus.
Lebanon’s state news agency NNA and two security sources said the blast had occurred in the port area where there are warehouses housing explosives, reports Reuters.
Buildings around the port have been levelled, windows and doors have been blown out and huge plumes of smoke are blowing across Beirut.
The Government Palace – the home of Lebanon’s PM Hassan Diab – was damaged in the blast, and his wife and daughter were injured in the explosion.
Video shows a column of smoke rising from the port area from what appeared to be an initial explosion, followed by a massive blast that sent up a mushroom cloud and a shock wave.
Lebanese security services have said the blast was caused by a fire in a depot of highly explosive material, including Sodium nitrate.
They said that material was confiscated from a ship months ago and stored there.
The Lebanese health ministry had previously claimed the explosion was caused by fireworks.
Al Mayadeen television reported there were hundreds of casualties, and the Lebanese Red Cross have said they are receiving thousands of emergency calls.
Beirut’s governor Philip Boulos called the explosion a national disaster and compared it to the Hiroshima and Nagasaki nuclear attacks.
It is estimated up to 226,000 people were killed when the US dropped nuclear bombs on the cities at the end of World War 2.
Lebanese security and medical sources have confirmed at least ten dead bodies have been removed from the scene of the explosion.