“We sympathize with the dear citizens of Lebanon and stand by them in the painful tragedy of the explosion in Beirut port, which killed and injured a large number of people and caused severe damage. Patience in the face of this tragedy will be a golden page in Lebanon’s honor,” said the Leader in a message on his Twitter account.
At least 135 were dead and around 5,000 injured in the massive blast in the Lebanese capital on Tuesday, the Guardian reported.
The fatal incident described by Beirut Governor Marwan Abboud as “an apocalyptic situation” occurred when a warehouse at the port caught fire, triggering a huge explosion.
Several smaller explosions were heard before the bigger one occurred, Lebanon’s official National News Agency (NNA) reported.
According to Abbas Ibrahim, head of Lebanon’s General Security, “highly explosive materials” ammonium nitrate confiscated earlier had been stored at the site.
Footage shared on social media captured the moment of the bigger explosion, with columns of thick smoke billowing fast across several hundreds of meters and shrouding the area.
The governor of Beirut estimated the disaster might have made 300,000 people temporarily homeless and would cost the country in excess of $3 billion.
The scale of the destruction was such that the Lebanese capital resembled the scene of an earthquake, with thousands of people left homeless and thousands more cramming into overwhelmed hospitals for treatment.