The U.S. State Department announced Wednesday that at least 1 American has died and several others injured due to the explosion in Beirut.
On Tuesday, a deadly explosion in Beirut, Lebanon killed at least 135 people and injured thousands. Officials are blaming a warehouse filled with explosives for approximately 6 years. However, there is still no official cause of the explosion.
The U.S. State Department announced Wednesday that at least 1 American has died and several others injured due to the explosion.
In response to the tragedy, President Aoun of Lebanon announced a three-day mourning period, a two-week state of emergency, in addition to 100 billion lira ($66 million) of emergency funds.
How Has The White House Responded?
President Trump believes that the explosion was not an accident, citing the possibility of an attack. During a White House coronavirus briefing, he said,“I met with some of our great generals and they just seem to feel that it was [an attack]… this was not some kind of a manufacturing-explosion-type of event. This was, seems to be, according to them — they would know better than I would — they seem to think it was an attack. A bomb of some kind.”
U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper went against the President’s prediction, stating that the United States is continuing to gather information and that “most believe it was an accident, as reported.”
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo offered his condolences for the many lives lost when he tweeted, “We are monitoring and stand ready to assist the people of Lebanon as they recover from this horrible tragedy.”
How Have World Leaders Responded?
U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson tweeted about the tragedy, writing, “The pictures and videos from Beirut tonight are shocking. All of my thoughts and prayers are with those caught up in this terrible incident. The UK is ready to provide support in any way we can, including to those British nationals affected.”
Iraninan Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif tweeted, “Iran is sending field hospital & medicine to assist with disaster relief. Iran stands with Lebanon.”
Many have speculated that the explosion could have been linked to Israel, as tensions have recently been high between Israel and Hezbollah, a Lebanon based militia group. However, Israel denied responsibility for the tragic event and offered medical and humanitarian assistance. “We share the pain of the Lebanese people and sincerely reach out to offer our aid at this difficult time,” President Reuven Rivlin of Israel tweeted.
The Aftermath Of The Explosion
The explosion in Lebanon only furthered the suffering of many people. Before the tragic event, people in Lebanon experienced power outages, an insufficient healthcare system, and lack of clean drinking water.
As the country continues to suffer from the coronavirus pandemic, the World Health Organization is scoping out the need for the country in regard to hospitals and their functionality. Many hospitals sustained major damage from the explosion and were unable to admit victims.
Amnesty International called on the world to give aid to Lebanon in addition to calling for an investigation into how the explosion happened in the first place.
On Wednesday, the Lebanese government launched an investigation into the explosion, ordering some officials to be under house arrest until further notice.