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BEIRUT, Lebanon — A pair of explosions shook the center of the Lebanese capital on Tuesday, damaging buildings in several neighborhoods, causing widespread injuries and sending a giant pink cloud rising from near the city’s port.
The state-run National News Agency reported that a fire had broken out in a fireworks storehouse at the port before the explosion. But it was not immediately clear what had caused such a large blast.
Residents of several neighborhoods in East Beirut said their walls had shaken or cracked and their windows shattered. Cars were overturned and many roads were blocked by the debris, forcing people wounded in the blast to walk through the smoke to hospitals.
At least one hospital was overwhelmed and was turning wounded people away.
Videos and photos on social media showed two explosions near the water.
The first blast sent a cloud of smoke billowing above fires and flashing lights that resembled fireworks. The second, much larger explosion, created a cloud of reddish orange smoke and sent a wave of dust.
In the aftermath, videos showed cars abandoned in the streets and heavy debris littered over a huge area. As the smoke cleared, small fires could be seen still burning near the port.
The Lebanese Red Cross said that more than 30 teams were responding to the explosion, and urged people to clear a path for its ambulances.
Alan Yuhas contributed reporting from Philadelphia.