Lebanon’s top defense body recommends two-week state of emergency after Beirut blasts

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Lebanon's Supreme Defense Council recommends declaring Beirut a disaster-stricken city, imposing a two-week state of emergency, and tasking the military to assume security responsibility of the country, according to the body’s spokesperson.

A huge explosion in port warehouses near central Beirut killed more than 73 people, injured over 3,700 and sent shockwaves that shattered windows, smashed masonry and shook the ground across the Lebanese capital.

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Officials said they expected the death toll to rise furtherafter Tuesday's blast as emergency workers dug through rubble to
rescue people and remove the dead. It was the most powerfulexplosion in years to hit Beirut, which is already reeling froman economic crisis and a surge in coronavirus infections.

Lebanon's interior minister said initial informationindicated highly explosive material, seized years ago, that hadbeen stored at the port had blown up. Israel, which has foughtseveral wars with Lebanon, denied any role and offered help.

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