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Dozens killed, thousands wounded in Beirut blast: Live updates

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Lebanese Health Minister Hamad Hassan says at least 25 people have been killed and more than 2,500 are wounded in a massive explosion at the port in Lebanon’s capital, Beirut.

The explosion released a shockwave causing widespread damage to buildings and shattering windows in different parts of the city.

The cause of the explosion was not immediately clear.

Here are the latest updates:

19:35 GMT – Lebanon PM says those responsible for Beirut explosion will pay the price

Lebanon’s Prime Minister Hassan Diab has said that those responsible for an explosion at a “dangerous” warehouse in Beirut port area that rocked the capital would pay the price.

“I promise you that this catastrophe will not pass without accountability… Those responsible will pay the price,” he said in a televised speech.

“Facts about this dangerous warehouse that has been there since 2014 will be announced and I will not preempt the investigations”.

19:33 GMT – Israel offers humanitarian aid

Israel says it has offered humanitarian aid to Lebanon via foreign channels, as the two countries have no diplomatic relations.

“Under the direction of Minister of Defence Benny Gantz and Minister of Foreign Affairs Gabi Ashkenazi, Israel approached Lebanon through international defence and diplomatic channels to offer the Lebanese
government medical humanitarian aid,” the two said in a joint statement.

19:22 GMT – Explosion destroys Italian civilian ship

At the port Al Jazeera’s Timour Azhari spoke to Vincenco Orlandini, 69, a crew member of an Italian civilian ship, the Orient Queen, that was docked near the blast site.

He was covered in blood after the explosion threw him across a room of his ship, while several people on board were wounded and taken to hospital, Azhari said.

“I heard the blast and I flew to the opposite [side] of the lobby. I landed on the carpet and I’m lucky; I think that saved me. The ship is totally destroyed – the cabins, the lounge, everything,” Orlandini said.

A civil defense worker who has worked in the sector for 20 years was in disbelief at the scale of the damage.

“I’ve seen the assasinations and the explosions but this is something else. There is something wrong here,” he told Al Jazeera.

19:13 GMT – Israel: No reason not to believe Beirut blast was an accident

Israeli Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi says the massive explosion in Beirut “was an accident caused by a
fire. I suggest caution with speculation – I do not see any reason not to believe the reports from Beirut”.

He made the comments to Israel’s Channel 12.

19:07 GMT – UK PM Johnson offers support to Beirut

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson says the UK is ready to provide any support it could to help Beirut.

“The pictures and videos from Beirut tonight are shocking,” Johnson wrote on Twitter. “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.”

18:53 GMT – More than 25 people dead, 2,500 wounded: health minister

Lebanese Health Minister Hamad Hassan says more than 25 people have been killed and more than 2,500 are wounded.

“It is a disaster in every sense of the word,” Hassan said in an interview with several television channels while visiting a hospital in the Lebanese capital.

18:50 GMT – Iran ready to help Lebanon, Zarif tweets

Iran is ready to help Lebanon in any way necessary, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has tweeted.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the great and resilient people of Lebanon. As always, Iran is fully prepared to render assistance in any way necessary. Stay strong, Lebanon,” Zarif tweeted.

READ FULL STORY HERE:

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