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Double Blast in Beirut - Terrifying Scenes; 'Reminded me of "Hiroshima and Nagasaki"--Says City Governor

Double blast in Beirut - Terrifying scenes; 'Reminded me of "Hiroshima and Nagasaki"--Says City Governor

A Massive double blast has hit in the Lebanese capital,Beirut causing widespread damage and injuring many people, officials say.

 The bomber struck shortly after noon in the port city of Beirut in front of a crowd of mourners. Ten people were killed, according to international media reports. Several people were injured and several vehicles were damaged. Several people were trapped at the scene.

It is not yet clear what caused the explosion in the port area of the city. Video posted online showed a large mushroom cloud and destroyed buildings.

Hospitals are said to be overwhelmed by casualties.

It comes at a sensitive time with the country's economic collapse reigniting old tensions.

Tensions are also high ahead of the verdict in a trial over the killing of ex-PM Rafik Hariri in 2005. A UN tribunal is due to issue its verdict in the trial of four suspects in the murder by car bomb of Hariri on Friday.

The official news agency NNA reported that there were several warehouses near the port of Beirut where explosives were stored and that the explosion took place there. Reuters reports that Beirut is now covered in black smoke. People are running on the road bleeding. According to international media reports, large buildings and cars plying on the road were destroyed.

There were conflicting reports on what caused the explosion, which was initially blamed on a major fire at a warehouse for firecrackers near the port, according to NNA. The director of the general security directorate later said the blast was caused by confiscated "high explosive materials," but did not provide further details.

A red cloud hung over the city in the wake of the explosion as firefighting teams rushed to the scene to try to put out the fire. At least 10 firefighters were missing, according to the city's governor Marwan Abboud, who said the scene reminded him of "Hiroshima and Nagasaki."

"In my life I haven't seen destruction on this scale," Abboud said. "This is a national catastrophe."

Double Blast in Beirut - Terrifying Scenes; 'Reminded me of "Hiroshima and Nagasaki"--Says City Governor

There have been grave warnings of hunger in the streets or a reigniting of sectarian conflict if the economy worsens.

And the blast will remind many of the bomb that killed Rafik Hariri. The Lebanese will be hoping that this latest blast will remain a human tragedy - an accident - and not a premeditated act.

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