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Dubai’s Sheikh Mohammed condoles Lebanon blast victims; Burj Khalifa lights up in solidarity

Dubai’s Sheikh Mohammed condoles Lebanon blast victims; Burj Khalifa lights up in solidarity

The casualty toll continued to climb through the night with several dozen confirmed dead and thousands more injured

Beirut blasts Lebanon

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, has expressed his condolences with the victims of the blast that rocked the Lebanese capital of Beirut on Tuesday.

“Our condolences to our beloved people in Lebanon. Oh God, have mercy on those who moved to you,” tweeted Sheikh Mohammed on Tuesday adding a prayer for “patience and solace” for the people of Lebanon.

Dubai’s iconic Burj Khalifa also lit up with the Lebanese flag in a show of solidarity with the country.

Tweeting a picture of the Burj Khalifa, UAE’s Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Dr Anwar Mohammed Gargash, said, “Our prayers during these difficult hours are that the Lord of the Worlds protects fraternal Lebanon and the Lebanese, that they reduce their affliction and heal their wounds, and that they keep their homes from sorrows and pain.”

Authorities in Lebanon say the blasts was caused by highly explosive materials at the Beirut port, but didn’t say whether it was an accident or an attack.

The casualty toll continued to climb through the night, with Sky News Arabia putting the number of dead at 78 in the early morning hours of Wednesday.

The health minister had said around 11 pm that 67 people were killed and some 3,600 injured.

“Beirut has never seen anything like this before,” Beirut Governor Marwan Abboud told reporters near the scene, comparing it to the aftermath of a nuclear bomb. “It is a destroyed city, people lying on the streets, damage everywhere.”

The aftermath of the explosion left people rushing for help on foot and motorbikes, some with blood streaming over their faces, outside a Beirut hospital. One hospital said it had taken in 400 people and others appealed for blood donations, saying they’d reached their capacity.

The price of oil climbed to the highest level in almost two weeks as the blast stoked fears over instability in the region. US benchmark crude futures climbed 1.7 per cent.

Prime Minister Hassan Diab described the blast as a “major national disaster” and said the depot that was the reason for the blast had been there since 2014.

“I will not rest until we hold whoever is responsible accountable and punish them with the most severe punishment,” he said. “It’s unacceptable that 2,750 tons of ammonium nitrate have been stored in a container in a depot for the past six years,” he said during a meeting of the Higher Defense Council.

With inputs from Bloomberg

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