In the clip, Trump began by "sending America's deepest sympathies to the people of Lebanon" following the explosion. "Reports indicate that many, many people were killed. Hundreds more were very badly wounded in a large explosion in Beirut. Our prayers go out to all the victims and their families. The United States stands ready to assist Lebanon. [We have a] very good relationship with the people of Lebanon, and we will be there to help."
"Let me begin by sending America's deepest sympathies to the people of Lebanon." pic.twitter.com/CZitqk2A0S— The White House (@WhiteHouse) August 4, 2020
The blast is still being investigated, but it is known that it originated in a warehouse near the port of Lebanon's capital. The warehouse was part of a facility that was reportedly being used to store explosive materials. It's also being reported that there were actually two separate explosions that took place. They sent a mushroom cloud of smoke and ash into the air, causing a startling sight and other damage. A member of the military who was at the port spoke to AFP on the condition of anonymity. "It's a catastrophe inside," they said. "There are corpses on the ground. Ambulances are still lifting the dead."
Lebanon's Chief of General Security Abbas Ibrahim stated that the blasts might have been caused by highly explosive material. These were said to have been confiscated from a ship some time ago. LBC, a local television channel in Beirut, claimed that the material was sodium nitrate, but that is unconfirmed by officials at this time.
Based on videos captured from eyewitnesses, smoke could be seen billowing out of the location shortly before a massive explosion occurred, which sent up a shockwave through the city. The blast not only flipped over cars, shattered windows and damaged buildings, but it also led to numerous casualties, with as many as 50 reported dead hours later. Of course, that number could climb higher as officials continue to investigate the full extent of the damage that the explosion caused.
Rania Masri, another of the city's residents compared the explosion to an earthquake. "The apartment shook horizontally and all of a sudden it felt like an explosion and the windows and doors burst open," Marsi said. "The glass just broke. So many homes were damaged or destroyed."