Lebanon crisis

Lebanon fuel tanker explosion leaves 20 dead, 79 injured in Akkar district

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At least 20 people have been killed and 79 others injured after a gas tanker exploded in the Tleil area of Lebanon’s Akkar region, according to the Lebanese Red Cross.

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Footage being shared on social media showed several ambulances transporting burn victims of the blast to hospitals in the district.

The Lebanese Red Cross said its teams recovered 20 bodies from the site of the explosion in the northern village of Tleil and evacuated 79 people who were injured or suffered burns in the blast.

At least 22 divisions of the Lebanese Red Cross were deployed in response to the explosion site, according to the Red Cross.

“Our teams are working on transporting the wounded and the dead bodies to hospitals in the area,” the Lebanese Red Cross said on Twitter.

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Lebanon’s former prime minister Saad Hariri has called for the resignation of President Michel Aoun amid the latest deadly incident in the country.

“Akkar massacre is no different than the [Beirut] Port massacre. May God have mercy on the martyrs and may they rest in peace. May God heal the wounded and injured. What happened in the two crimes, if there was a country that respects people, its officials would resign, starting with the President of the Republic to the last person responsible for this neglect. Enough is enough. The lives and security of the Lebanese are a priority,” Hariri tweeted.

Lebanon’s Health Minister Hamad Hassan called on all hospitals in northern Lebanon and the capital, Beirut, to receive those injured by the explosion, adding that the government will pay for their treatment.

The explosion comes as Lebanon faces a severe fuel shortage that has been blamed on smuggling, hoarding and the cash-strapped government’s inability to secure deliveries of imported fuel.

Tleil is about 4 kilometers (2.5 miles) from the Syrian border, but it was not immediately clear if the fuel in the tanker was being prepared to be smuggled to Syria, where prices are much higher compared to those in Lebanon.

Sunday’s explosion was the deadliest in the country since last year's August 4 blast at Beirut’s port which killed at least 214, wounded thousands and destroyed parts of the capital.

With Reuters

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