Donald Trump claims Beirut explosion was 'attack' caused by 'bomb'

4 August 2020, 23:50

Donald Trump said his generals told him the Beirut explostion was an attack using a bomb
Donald Trump said his generals told him the Beirut explostion was an attack using a bomb. Picture: PA
Nick Hardinges

By Nick Hardinges

Donald Trump has claimed the explosion in Beirut that has left at least dozens dead was an "attack" caused by "a bomb of some kind."

The US President told reporters at a press conference from the White House that the deadly explosion in the Lebanese capital today “looks like a terrible attack.”

“The United States stands ready to assist Lebanon. We have a very good relationship with the people of Lebanon, and we will be there to help,” Mr Trump said on Tuesday.

“It looks like a terrible attack,” he added.

Although the US leader did not immediately elaborate his comments, he soon followed them up claiming the blast was caused by a bomb.

There is currently no publicly-made evidence to suggest the explosion was caused by an attack.

Lebanon’s security chief, Abbas Ibrahim, has blamed the tragedy on combustible chemicals, namely ammonium nitrate, that was stored in a nearby warehouse.

Read more: At least 78 dead and nearly 4,000 injured following huge Beirut explosions

The interior minister, Mohammed Fahmi, also said ammonium nitrate was responsible and called for an investigation into how it set alight.

Mr Trump was later asked to elaborate on his comments and was pressed on whether he was confident if it was an attack rather than an accident.

He replied: "Well it seemed like it based on the explosion.

"I've met with some of our great generals and they just seemed to feel that it was. This was not some kind of a manufacturing explosion type of event.

"This seems to be, according to them, they would know better than I would, but they seem to think it was an attack.

"It was a bomb of some kind, yes."

Read more: Beirut explosion eyewitnesses tell of 'complete devastation' caused by blast

Massive explosions shook Lebanon's capital Beirut on Tuesday, with Lebanese Health Minister Hassan Hamad saying at least 78 people have been killed and nearly 4,000 injured at the time of writing.

That number is expected to rise throughout the day.

The first reports out of hospitals in Beirut say that the emergency room is "very busy," with hospitals saying they are "overwhelmed by casualties" and are asking for blood donations.

Bodies are thought to be buried in the rubble, while most of those hurt are said to have injuries from sustained from shattered glass.

As it happened: Lebanese capital Beirut rocked by massive explosion

Hours later, ambulances were still carrying away the wounded as army helicopters helped battle fires raging at the port.

Lebanon's Health Ministry put out a call for medics to volunteer at the "nearest place you can get to," while the prime minister called for international support in the aftermath of the explosion.

"I make an urgent appeal to friendly and brotherly countries... to stand by Lebanon and to help us heal our deep wounds," Hassan Diab said.

"It's a major national disaster," he told reporters.

He also said: "I promise you that this catastrophe will not pass without accountability... Those responsible will pay the price."