While conflicting reports about the cause of the giant explosion that hit Beirut today continue to surface, the head of customs said that it took place in a chemical warehouse.
“A chemical warehouse exploded at the Port of Beirut,” Director-General of Lebanese Customs Badri Daher told Al-Jadeed.
In turn, upon inspecting the explosion site, General Abbas Ibrahim, Director-General of General Security said: “It appears that the explosion occurred in a warehouse of highly-explosive materials confiscated years ago.”
He noted that the results of the investigations should be awaited, nonetheless.
According to Governor of Beirut Marwan Abboud, the explosion went off after a fire was reported at the port.
A team of firefighters that initially responded to the fire has been missing since the blast took place, and several casualties have been reported.
Abboud said the capital “is afflicted, there is great destruction, and what happened is unprecedented in Lebanon.”
While a strong diesel smell was reported at the explosion site, some reports said that the tanks that exploded may have contained sodium nitrate; a chemical substance generally used in explosives.
This remains unconfirmed until official investigations indicate otherwise.