[Ed. – Al Arabiya is reporting it as a Hezbollah weapons storage location on the waterfront. (Israel has targeted similar caches in the past decade, but categorically denies any involvement in this event.) Unique purple hue erupting in the cloud afterward may indicate a highly unstable fuel oxidizing agent, nitrogen triiodide. It’s too soon to speculate much, but one possibility is that Hezbollah manufacturers were working with the compound at the time when small munitions went off, as seen (the small munitions popping off) in a couple of videos, just before the humongous blast. You don’t just leave nitrogen triiodide sitting around, or at least not if you have a brain in your head. In any case, there had to be a gigantic stash of a fuel combustible located in the same place. There’s one report of people on scene thinking they heard the sound of a jet aircraft or missile overhead before the explosion, but nothing else to confirm that. Could well be a “workplace accident” for Hezbollah’s weapons makers.]
A huge explosion near the centre of Beirut killed at least 50 people, injured thousands and sent shockwaves across the Lebanese capital on Tuesday, shattering windows and causing apartment balconies to collapse.
The most powerful explosion to hit Beirut in years shook the ground, leaving some residents thinking an earthquake had struck. People walked through streets, dazed and weeping and some of them wounded, checking to see if relatives were hurt.
The blast occurred in the city’s port area. …
Footage of the explosion shared by residents on social media initially showed a column of smoke rising from the port district followed by an enormous blast that sent a ball of white smoke and a fireball into the sky. Those filming the incident from high buildings in other areas of the city were thrown backward by the shock.
— Matthew RJ Brodsky (@RJBrodsky) August 4, 2020