At least four people were killed and several injured late Friday after an explosion in Beirut’s Tariq al-Jadideh, the Lebanese Red Cross said.
After the Red Cross secretary-general initially said two people had died, the agency tweeted that the number had risen to four.
“Two bodies and a number of injured were transferred to the Maqassed Hospital after a diesel storage container exploded,” Red Cross Secretary-General George Kettaneh told the state-run National News Agency.
Lebanese TV channel LBCI reported that security forces had apprehended the local warehouse owner where the diesel was stored. The owner reportedly admitted that the explosion was caused by the diesel, which he said was used for his mobile phone manufacturing company.
Watch: Video shows people reacting after a diesel storage container exploded in #Beirut's Tariq al-Jadideh neighborhood earlier. At least two people died and several others injured as a result of the incident.#Lebanonhttps://t.co/mvfYYd3sP9 pic.twitter.com/9p7eJeaqjT— Al Arabiya English (@AlArabiya_Eng) October 9, 2020
Videos on social media showed flames ripping through a small alley in what has been said to be Tariq al-Jadideh.
Former Prime Minister Saad Hariri, who enjoys widespread support in the area where the blast took place, offered his condolences to the victims and their families.
He warned the youth in the streets to ensure proper protection due to the coronavirus pandemic, calling on them to refrain from gathering at the site of the explosion or the hospital.
“I am in contact with all the security agencies … to find out the cause of the explosion and [I am] following up on the health situation of the injured,” Hariri tweeted.
This comes after the catastrophic Aug. 4 Beirut blasts, which ripped through the capital and killed almost 200. Thousands more were injured after 2,750 tonnes of stored ammonium nitrate exploded at the Port of Beirut. No one has been held responsible, and investigations are ongoing, according to Lebanese officials.