At least 135 dead in massive Beirut explosion, thousands injured

A massive explosion rocked Beirut today, killing at least 135 people and injuring at least 3000 more. It obliterated much of the port district and sent a visible shockwave through the city, filling the streets with shattered glass and debris. Officials blamed the catastrophic blast on 3000 tons of ammonium nitrate left moldering in a warehouse.

"I will not rest until we find the person responsible for what happened so we can hold them to account and impose the most severe punishment," Lebanese prime minister Hassan Diab was quoted as saying by the BBC. "It is unacceptable that a shipment of 2,750 tonnes of ammonium nitrate has been present for six years in a warehouse, without taking preventive measures and endangering the safety of citizens".

Locals reported that at least two explosions occurred, and video posted to social media shows a column of smoke rising from raging fires the moments before the overwhelming final blast. Some video shows lights sparkling in the fire, suggesting fireworks or ammunition may have led to the larger blast that followed.

The BBC notes that the blast came as locals awaited the verdict in a trial over the killing of ex-prime minister Rafik Hariri in 2005.

The large building in the footage is a grain storage silo, but extant footage suggests the fire had not reached it and its potentially flammable contents.

More footage from different angles: