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Accident maybe, but nothing that happens in Beirut is beyond speculation.
Beirut blast: Dozens dead and thousands injured, health minister says
A large blast in the Lebanese capital, Beirut, has killed at least 27 people and injured more than 2,000 others, the health minister says.
It is not yet clear what caused the explosion in the port region. Videos posted online showed a column of smoke followed by a large mushroom cloud.
Hospitals are said to be overwhelmed and many buildings have been destroyed.
Lebanon's internal security chief said the blast happened in an area housing highly explosive materials.
A BBC journalist at the scene reported dead bodies and severe damage, enough to put the port out of action.
The explosion comes at a sensitive time for Lebanon, with an economic crisis reigniting old divisions. Tensions are also high ahead of Friday's verdict in a trial over the killing of ex-Prime Minister Rafik Hariri in 2005.
Some reports suggest the explosion may have been an accident. Lebanon's National News Agency reported a fire breaking out at what it called an explosives depot at the port before the explosion.
Local media showed people trapped beneath rubble. A witness described the first explosion as deafening, and video footage showed wrecked cars and blast-damaged buildings.
President Michel Aoun called for an emergency meeting of the Supreme Defence Council, the presidency said on Twitter. Wednesday has been declared a day of mourning, the prime minister said.
UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said the government was "ready to offer help and support" while French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said France was also ready to offer assistance.
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