The toll in the twin explosions in Beirut, Lebanon, rose to over 100, with more than 4,000 people injured. “Until now over 4,000 people have been injured and over 100 have lost their lives,” the Lebanese Red Cross said in a statement on Wednesday, AFP reported. “Our teams are still conducting search and rescue operations in the surrounding areas.”

Interior Minister Mohammed Fahmi said earlier in the day it was likely that ammonium nitrate being stored in a warehouse at Beirut port caused the first blast. The second one sent an orange fireball into the sky, devastating the harbour and shattering windows several kilometres away. Buildings 10 km away from the site of the blast were damaged.

Global reactions

United States President Donald Trump said his military generals told him they “seem to feel” that the massive explosion was in fact a bomb attack. “I met with some of our great generals and they just seem to feel that it was [an attack],” Trump told reporters at the White House. “This was not a – some kind of a manufacturing explosion type of a event...they seem to think it was a attack. It was a bomb of some kind, yes.”

Prime Minister Narendra Modi offered his condolences. “Shocked and saddened by the large explosion in Beirut city leading to loss of life and property,” Modi tweeted. “Our thoughts and prayers are with the bereaved families and the injured.”

The United Nations said it was actively assisting in the response to the disaster. “The Secretary-General [Antonio Guterres] expresses his deepest condolences to the families of the victims, as well as to the people and Government of Lebanon, following the horrific explosions in Beirut today,” Farhan Haq, the deputy spokesperson for Guterres, said in a statement. “He wishes a speedy recovery to the injured, including several United Nations personnel working in Lebanon.”

Qatar promised to send field hospitals to help provide medical services, AFP reported. Qatar’s ruler Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani wished “a speedy recovery for the injured”. Kuwait also promised to send emergency medical aid.

Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi said Amman was ready to provide any assistance, an offer repeated by the Iranian government. “Our thoughts and prayers are with the great and resilient people of Lebanon,” Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif tweeted. “Stay strong, Lebanon.”

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and United Arab Emirates Vice President Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum offered condolences. On the other hand, Egypt expressed “deep concern” at the destruction.

Israel, which is still officially at war with Lebanon, offered medical assistance. “Defence Minister Benny Gantz and Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi, on behalf of the State of Israel, have offered the Lebanese government – via international intermediaries –medical and humanitarian aid, as well as immediate emergency assistance,” a statement from the Israeli government said.

Vladimir Putin said that Russians “share the grief of the Lebanese people”. “I ask you to convey words of sympathy and support to the families and friends of the victims, as well as wishes for a speedy recovery to all affected,” he told the Kremlin in a statement.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson called the pictures emerging from Beirut shocking. “The pictures and videos from Beirut tonight are shocking,” he tweeted. “All of my thoughts and prayers are with those caught up in this terrible incident. The UK is ready to provide support in any way we can, including to those British nationals affected.”