Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Israel Offers Aid to Lebanon Following Explosions at Beirut Port

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The Israeli government has offered assistance to Lebanon following two explosions at a port in Beirut on Aug. 4.

The explosions reportedly occurred at a warehouse facility. The second explosion was the larger of the two. Video footage shows fireworks going off before the second explosion. Lebanese Prime Minister Hassan Diab said that the warehouse contained 2,750 tons of ammonium nitrate, a compound used to make fertilizer and was used in the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing.

Lebanese Health Minister Hamad Hassan told reporters outside a hospital that at least 50 people were killed in the explosion and thousands were wounded.

Israeli Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi and Defense Minister Benny Gantz announced in a statement Israel would offer assistance.

“Israel has approached Lebanon through international security and diplomatic channels and has offered the Lebanese government medical and humanitarian assistance,” the statement read.

Israeli President Reuven Rivlin tweeted, “We share the pain of the Lebanese people and sincerely reach out to offer our aid at this difficult time.”

However, according to the Times of Israel, the Lebanese government will likely decline the offer, as the two countries are still technically at war with each other.

Both Israeli and Lebanese officials denied claims that Israel had anything to do with the explosions.

Beirut resident Rania Masri told CNN that she had initially felt an earthquake.

“The apartment shook horizontally and all of a sudden it felt like an explosion and the windows and doors burst open,” she said. “The glass just broke. So many homes were damaged or destroyed.”

Another resident told Reuters, “I saw a fireball and smoke billowing over Beirut. People were screaming and running, bleeding. Balconies were blown off buildings. Glass in high-rise buildings shattered and fell to the street.”

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