Beirut: Boris Johnson confirms Brits caught up in blast and embassy staff injured

5 August 2020, 09:14

By Ewan Somerville

Boris Johnson has confirmed that British nationals were caught up in the aftermath of a deadly blast that shook the Lebanese capital Beirut.

The Prime Minister said in a tweet: "The pictures and videos from Beirut tonight are shocking. All of my thoughts and prayers are with those caught up in this terrible incident.

"The UK is ready to provide support in any way we can, including to those British nationals affected."

All staff at the British embassy in Beirut are accounted for, but a “small number” have sustained "non-life-threatening injuries" and are receiving treatment, the Foreign Office said. 

Videos of a huge mushroom cloud rising above the Middle Eastern city were shared extensively on social media on Tuesday evening local time. It was heard as far as Cyprus.

READ MORE: Lebanon in mourning as search for survivors continues

The blast killed at least 100 people and injured more than 4,000 others, with rescuers still searching from dawn on Wednesday to find bodies buried in the rubble. 

President Michel Aoun said the blast was caused by 2,750 tonnes of ammonium nitrate, a fertiliser and explosive, that was stored unsafely in a warehouse.

In a tweet, Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said: "My thoughts and prayers are with those affected by the devastating explosion in #Beirut today.

"The UK stands in solidarity with the people of Lebanon and is ready to offer help and support, including to those British nationals impacted."

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said in a tweet: "The images of explosions in Beirut are deeply worrying. Our thoughts are with those affected, the emergency services and the people of Lebanon."