Fatal Beirut explosion 'looks like a terrible attack,' Trump says

The massive explosion killed at least 70 people, and injured 3,000 others; the blast was felt across the Mediterranean Sea in Cyprus

Updated: August 4, 2020 - 11:18pm

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President Trump during a Tuesday press conference said the fatal Beirut explosion that killed some and reportedly injured thousands "looks like a terrible attack." 

"The United States stands ready to assist Lebanon," the president said during the press conference. "It looks like a terrible attack," he said.

"Are you confident that this was an attack and not an accident?" a reporter later asked the president.

"Well it would seem like it based on the explosion. I met with some of our great generals and they just seem to feel that it was," Trump said. "This was a, seems to be according to them, they would know better than I would, but they seem to think it was a attack, it was a bomb of some kind," the president explained.

A massive explosion rocked Beirut on Tuesday, reportedly killing as many as 70 people and injuring 3,000 others.

The afternoon explosion appears to have occurred in a warehouse near the Lebanon port, flattening buildings and knocking out widows miles away.

One resident told Just the News that he felt the shaking at his home more than 10 miles away from Beirut. Others reported feeling the blast across the Mediterranean Sea in Cyprus.

The cause of the explosion remains unclear. 

However, Abbas Ibrahim, chief of Lebanese General Security, said it might have been caused by highly explosive material that was confiscated from a ship some time ago and stored at the port. Local television channel LBC said the material was sodium nitrate, according to the Associated Press.

An eyewitness told The Just the News when the explosion occurred that it "looks like a major attack with casualties." 

The U.S. Embassy in Beirut issued a security alert to American citizens there, and encouraged them to monitor local news.

"We urge U.S. citizens in the affected areas who are safe to contact their loved ones directly and/or update their status on social media," the embassy posted on its website.

The Lebanese Red Cross on Tuesday afternoon issued an urgent request for donations of all blood types.

"All available Lebanese Red Cross ambulances from North Lebanon, Bekaa and South Lebanon are being dispatched to Beirut to support with rescue and evacuation of patients," the group wrote on Twitter.

"Our heartfelt sympathies go out to everyone affected by the explosion in Beirut that took place today," Lebanon's ambassador to the United States, Gabriel Issa, wrote in a statement. "As we mourn this unspeakable tragedy, our thoughts remain with the families of those who have lost loved ones, our courageous first responders, and those who are recovering from their injuries during this incredibly difficult time."

The eyewitness being interviewed by phone by Just the News was talking about Middle East security when the explosion occurred, shaking windows in his office, he said.