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Thousands of people injured and at least 78 died in the violent explosion in Beirut

A powerful explosion in Lebanon's capital, Beirut, has claimed at least 78 lives and injured button 4000 other.

This was stated by the Lebanese minister of health, Hamad Hasan, according to the news agency Reuters, around the bell 01 the night of Wednesday, after the explosion Tuesday afternoon hit Beirut.

the death toll is feared to rise further.

- There are many people who are missing. People ask after their loved ones, and it is difficult to look after them at night, because there is no electricity.

- We are facing a true disaster and need time to assess the extent of the damage, says Hamad Hasan, according to Reuters.

Hundreds of people are brought to hospitals in the city. Many others are still trapped in their homes, which are destroyed in the violent explosion. It says the head of the Red Cross in the Lebanon, George Kettaneh.

One of Beirut's hospitals - Hotel Dieu Hospital - treats more than 500 injured and can not receive any more. It informed the hospital early Tuesday evening for the lebanese tv station LBCI.

Many of the injured had to be operated, and the hospital is appealing to people to donate blood, writes the news agency Reuters.

Lebanese media shows pictures of bleeding people, who are trapped under rubble.

the Other injured walking around in the streets in the central Hamra district, where every shop in the main street have been shattered panes, writes AFP.

A ship belonging to the UN peacekeeping force Unifil in Lebanon, has also been hit. Crew on board have been injured, writes Unifil in a statement, according to AFP.

It is yet unclear what caused the explosion, which is the strongest in Lebanon in years.

the Country's security chief, Abbas Ibrahim, said to the AFP that were stored high-explosive material at the port.

- Apparently there is a warehouse with material that was confiscated years back, and it seems that it was the high-explosive material, says the head of security services has.

Prime minister Hassan Diab said on Tuesday evening in a televised speech to the nation that 'those responsible will pay the price'.

- the Facts about this dangerous store that has been there since 2014, will be presented, and I will not prejudge the investigation, he says.

president of Lebanon, Michel Aoun, has declared a two-week state of emergency late Tuesday evening, writes AFP. He has also called for the emergency meeting of the country's defence committee.

the Noise shattered the windows of houses several miles away, caused tremors over large parts of Beirut and sent a thick column of smoke up in the air.

Several buildings are destroyed, and several cars have been blown away by the pressure from the explosion, reports the british broadcaster BBC.

Several users on social media are sharing videos of the powerful explosion. Some of the footage appears to show two explosions - first a smaller and then a more powerful.

The violent explosion comes at a time when Lebanon is characterised by the worst economic crisis in decades. It has triggered massive demonstrations against the government.

at the same time, there are only three days to the planned fall judgment in the case of the killing of Lebanon's former prime minister Rafik Hariri.

Four suspected members of the shiamilitsen Hezbollah is accused of having stood behind the powerful bomb in 2005 killed Hariri and 21 others in Beirut's waterfront.

/ritzau

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