Israel offers Lebanon humanitarian relief as investigation into cause of explosion continues.
By TZVI JOFFRE, REUTERS – The Jerusalem Post
Wheat stores at the port were destroyed in the blast, leading the government to place restrictions on flour sales and develop plans to supplement wheat supplies.
The European Union, United States, Cyprus, Iraq and a number of other countries also offered support after the disaster. Qatar, Iraq and France will send field hospitals to help tend to the wounded.
The cause of the explosion remained uncertain as of Tuesday night. Initial reports indicated that the fire occurred in a warehouse storing fireworks and video from the scene appeared to show fireworks igniting shortly before the blast. Additional reports claim that a nearby warehouse was storing explosive chemicals that had been confiscated at the port.
An odd smell was noticed in the area after the explosion, according to Al-Mayadeen. The US Embassy in Beirut told citizens to stay indoors and wear masks due to reports of toxic gas emissions, according to MTV Lebanon.
“Due to the explosion that rocked #Beirut Port today, one of our Maritime Task Force ships was damaged, leaving some naval peacekeepers injured. #UNIFIL is assessing the situation & stands ready to provide assistance & support to the Lebanese Government,” the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) tweeted on Tuesday.
Due to the explosion that rocked #Beirut Port today, one of our Maritime Task Force ships was damaged, leaving some naval peacekeepers injured. #UNIFIL is assessing the situation & stands ready to provide assistance & support to the Lebanese Government.
— UNIFIL (@UNIFIL_) August 4, 2020
Sources from Hezbollah told OTV Lebanon that there was “no truth” to rumors that the explosion was caused by an Israeli strike on Hezbollah weapons at the port. Hezbollah operatives were seen at the port after the explosion, according to Al-Arabiya. Al-Arabiya claimed that the explosion occurred at a weapons depot belonging to Hezbollah.
The Iranian Mehr News Agency claimed that US sabotage may have had a role in the explosion, based on radar images of US Navy aircraft in the area.
Lebanese officials have stressed that the investigation into the incident is ongoing and the exact cause of the explosion is unclear.