The number of deaths in the Beirut blasts continues to rise with the latest figures at 135 deaths, around 5,000 wounded, Lebanon’s Health Minister Hamad Hassan said Wednesday.
The blast revived memories of a 1975-90 civil war and its aftermath, when Lebanese endured heavy shelling, car bombings and Israeli air raids. Some residents thought an earthquake had struck.
Dazed, weeping, and injured people walked through streets searching for relatives.
“The blast blew me off meters away. I was in a daze and was all covered in blood. It brought back the vision of another explosion I witnessed against the US embassy in 1983,” said Huda Baroudi, a Beirut designer.
Prime Minister Hassan Diab promised there would be accountability for the deadly blast at the “dangerous warehouse,” adding “those responsible will pay the price.”
The US embassy in Beirut warned residents about reports of toxic gases released by the blast, urging people to stay indoors and wear masks if available.
Many still missing
Bleeding people were seen running and shouting for help in clouds of smoke and dust in streets littered with damaged buildings, flying debris, and wrecked cars and furniture.