Over 100 people were killed and thousands wounded in a massive explosion that shook the Lebanese capital on Tuesday, with shockwaves of the deadly blast reaching as far as Cyprus.
According to foreign media, a powerful blast at Beirut’s port warehouses shook the entire Lebanese capital on Tuesday late afternoon, shortly after 6pm, killing dozens of people and injuring over 4000 people.
Lebanon President Michel Aoun said that 2750 tonnes of ammonium nitrate had been stored for six years at the port without safety measures, and he said that was “unacceptable”.
Reports said the highly explosive material had been confiscated from ships back in 2013 or 2014, but officials did not say what caused a blaze that is believed to have set off the blast.
'Cyprus is ready to accept injured persons for treatment and send medical teams if required'
The powerful explosion was also felt in Cyprus, with Nicosia residents reporting they felt the shockwave. Some said they heard the vibration on lose doors and windows or saw their pets getting up as the sound wave was passing through.
At least three Cypriots living in Beirut were said to have sustained minor injuries while the consulate office of the Republic was destroyed.
Cypriot Foreign Minister Nikos Christodoulides told state radio on Wednesday that "Cyprus is ready to accept injured persons for treatment and send medical teams if required."
Bad memories revived in Lebanon and Cyprus
Some Beirut residents thought an earthquake had struck while others through there was an air attack.
The blast revived memories of a long-year civil war and its aftermath, when Lebanese people endured heavy shelling, car bombings and Israeli air raids.
Social media users in Cyprus drew parallels between the Beirut incident and the Mari explosion of 2011, when nearly 100 containers holding confiscated Iranian explosives at a naval base exploded, killing 12 people and wreaking havoc across the island.