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A series of massive explosions detonated in Beirut on Tuesday, with footage showing a mushroom cloud and shockwave emanating from the city port.
It is still unclear what caused the explosions. Lebanese security forces claimed the explosion took place at a fireworks factory. Security officials say at least ten people have died.
Terrorist group Hezbollah is suspected to control weapons depots and even missile launch sites in the city.
“We are closely following reports of an explosion in Beirut on August 4,” a State Department spokesperson told National Review. “We extend our deepest condolences to all those affected, and stand ready to offer all possible assistance.”
The spokesperson added, “We have no information about the cause of the explosion,” and urged American citizens to “avoid the affected areas.”
The explosions came several days before a U.N.-backed court’s expected verdict on the assassination of former prime minister Rafik Hariri, who was killed in a car bombing in 2005. The suspects are four members of Hezbollah. After Hariri’s killing was traced back to the terror group, international pressure led Syria to pull its military forces out of Lebanon after a 29-year presence.
Tensions have risen lately between Hezbollah and Israel, following a Monday attempt by suspected militants to infiltrate Israel’s Golan Heights region. However, senior Israeli officials denied that the country was involved in the Beirut explosions.