Beirut Explosion Rocks Wedding as Bride’s Parents Walk Down the Aisle

Smoke rises and buildings lie in ruins along a coast line

Lebanon is facing the "triple tragedy of the socio-economic crisis, COVID-19 and the ammonium nitrate explosion", Rupert Colville, a spokesman for the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, said, urging Lebanese leaders to "overcome political stalemates and address the grievances of the population".

The blast at Beirut's port killed more than 150 and devastated swaths of the city, as rescuers continue to desperately comb the rubble for survivors.

Trump, who talked with his Lebanese counterpart as well as the conference's organizer French President Emmanuel Macron, tweeted that "everyone wants to help!"

The Lebanese people are demanding answers as rescue teams pulled more bodies from the rubble of Beirut's port on Friday, almost three days after a massive explosion sent a wave of destruction through the capital.

However, Auon rejected calls for an global probe into the incident Friday, saying it would be an attempt to "dilute the truth".

"There are two possible scenarios for what happened: it was either negligence or foreign interference through a missile or a bomb", he said, which is the first time a top Lebanese official has suggested foul play. Some officials have said fix work had begun recently on the warehouse, others say they suspect fireworks were stored nearby.

On Friday, relief flights from Iran, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates landed in Lebanon, following others from France, Kuwait, Qatar and Russian Federation.

Damaged hospitals, already strained by the coronavirus pandemic, are still struggling to deal with the wounded.

On Friday, the leader of the Lebanese Islamist political party and militant group Hezbollah denied accusations that it had weapons stored at Beirut port, adding that he supported the government's investigation.

The UN children's agency UNICEF has said almost 80,000 children are among the 300,000 people left homeless, including many who have been separated from their families.

They included the port's general manager, Hassan Koraytem, a judicial source told AFP.

The central bank also ordered an asset freeze for seven port and customs officials, an official and a banking source told AFP.

The measures did not dampen the anger in Beirut's streets, where dozens of demonstrators scuffled with security forces firing tear gas late Thursday.

An investigation has been started by the government, which has come under mounting criticism after many Lebanese blamed the catastrophe on negligence and corruption.



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