Explosion Rocks Downtown Beirut, Hundreds of Casualties Estimated

A huge explosion in downtown Beirut Tuesday has reportedly resulted in hundreds of casualties.

Lebanese Red Cross official Georges Kettaneh did not give an exact number but said there were many dead and wounded, according to the AP.

The explosion flattened much of the city’s port and damaged buildings, knocking down balconies and shattering windows miles away from the scene.

A civil defense official at the scene said dozens of people have been taken to the hospital and there were likely bodies under the debris.

While the cause of the explosion is not immediately clear, the country is experiencing one of its worst financial crises in decades and experiencing rising tensions along its border between Israel and the Hezbollah. An Israeli government official denied any involvement.

Some local news outlets reported the blast may have been caused by fireworks stored at the port.

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