The secretary-general of Lebanon’s Christian Kataeb Party, or Phalange, Nizar Najarian has been killed in a powerful explosion in Beirut. Nearly a dozen more people are reported dead and hundreds injured.
Two explosions rocked the Lebanese capital on Tuesday evening, killing at least 10 people and injuring hundreds more, according to local officials and the Red Cross. The blast wave damaged buildings all across the city and left the streets a rubble-strewn disaster scene.
Najarian was caught in the blast and wounded, succumbing to his injuries a short time later, his party wrote in a statement.
ببالغ الحزن و الأسى ينعى اليكم حزب #الكتائب امينه العام نزار نجاريان الذي توفي متأثراً باصابته جراء الانفجار الذي وقع بعد ظهر اليوم. ان حزب الكتائب يتقدم من عائلة الراحل والكتائبيين بأحر التعازي، على امل ان يتخطى لبنان كل المحن ليعود للنهوض. المسيح قام. pic.twitter.com/aSY5V4XZB9
He was not the only political figure reportedly hurt in the explosion. Prime Minister Hassan Diab’s wife and daughter were allegedly injured, while the Kazakh ambassador to Lebanon was also hurt as the explosion damaged the embassy building, Al-Jazeera reported.
The cause of the deadly explosion has not yet been conclusively identified. Health Minister Hamad Hassan blamed it on a fireworks accident, while Security Director Abbas Ibrahim claimed that the larger, secondary blast, originated at a chemicals warehouse.
With city streets destroyed and a cloud of dust and smoke hanging overhead, Beirut Governor Marwan Abboud called the explosion a “national disaster akin to Hiroshima,” where a nuclear bomb was dropped 75 years ago this week.
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