On August 4, 2020, a major explosion at the Port of Beirut decimated a large swath of the city center. Although exact casualty counts remain unknown, several dozen are likely dead and hundreds injured.
The majority of the Port's freestanding docks, warehouses, and fuel silos have been damaged or destroyed in the explosion, grounding operations to a halt. All available ambulances across Lebanon have been ordered to the capital and military personnel are being deployed to the disaster area. The Intelligence Ledger will update this page as more information becomes available.
Footage of Initial Explosion.
Footage of Damage.
Footage from St. Jospeh's Hospital.
UPDATE (7/4/20 - 2:00 PM CDT)
From analyzing publicly available footage, it appears as though the explosion emanated from storage warehouse 12 at the Port of Beirut. Although supposedly a grain storage structure, Maj. General Abbas Ibrahim, head of Lebanon's General Directorate of General Security, claims that the building housed several tons of Sodium Nitrate seized from a vessel earlier this year.
The Israeli Defense Force, Lebanese Armed Forces, and Hezbollah have all stressed that this incident does not appear to be the result of an airstrike or sabotage.
It appears as though every single structure in the immediate radius of the explosion has been decimated. With port facilities closed, Lebanon will face a logistical nightmare in the week to come.
The Lebanese Red Cross has put out an immediate call for blood donations, with hundreds reportedly flooding hospitals as far as ten miles from the explosion.
UPDATE (7/4/20 - 2:11 PM CDT)
According to the Jordanian Seismological Observatory, the explosion was equivalent to a 4.5 magnitude earthquake. This is equivalent to the deployment of a tactical nuclear warhead or 1,000 tons of TNT. Civilians in Cyprus reportedly felt the blast, even though they are located nearly 240 kilometers (150 Miles) away in the Mediterranean Sea.
Israel has offered Humanitarian Aid to Lebanon through both official and unofficial diplomatic channels. Although the Lebanese government may initially resist, realities on the ground coupled with economic woes may soon force them to accept.
UPDATE (7/4/20 - 2:20 PM CDT)
Truly terrifying close-in footage of the blast is beginning to emerge.
The Intelligence Ledger is tracking a mass mobilization of Lebanese military units and Hezbollah assets across the country. Their objective will undoubtedly be to support search and rescue operations in Beirut.
UPDATE (7/4/20 - 5:23 PM CDT)
In a clear example of ineptitude on the part of the Lebanese government, officials admitted that it stored 2750 tons of nitrate next to crates of fireworks amid 105 degrees in the Port of Beirut. This was likely the cause of the explosion at Building 12.