A large explosion rocked the port area of Lebanon’s capital, Beirut, on Tuesday.

Images and videos on social media appear to show large plumes of smoke and damaged buildings, but the cause of the blast and exact location are not immediately clear.

Smoke rises in Beirut, Lebanon on Aug. 4, 2020.Mohamed Azakir / Reuters

Lebanon’s National News Agency reported the cause may have been a fire in a hangar where explosives were being stored in the Beirut port, on the country’s west coast.

Video of the explosions compared with satellite imagery appears to corroborate that the explosion happened at a warehouse in the port.

The news agency added that wheat was also being stored in a nearby warehouse. Fire trucks were en route to the scene and there were a “considerable number of wounded” people and evacuation operations underway.

The Lebanese Red Cross also confirmed on Twitter that it had more than 30 teams including ambulances responding to the blast.

A wounded man walks near the scene of an explosion in Beirut on August 4, 2020.Anwar Amro / AFP – Getty Images

Footage from the Daily Star, a Lebanese newspaper’s offices in the city, appear to show parts of the roof fallen in, blown-out windows and damaged furniture, indicating the strength of the blast.

Lebanon is in the midst of a number of social and political crises.

On Friday, the country is bracing for a U.N.-backed court to deliver a verdict on the death of its former Prime Minister Rafik al-Hariri, who was killed by a truck bomb in 2005, sending the country’s fragile political system into turmoil.

It is also grappling with the deadly coronavirus pandemic and a spiraling economic crisis, the most severe in its modern history, that has pushed many Lebanese people to protest in the streets this year as unemployment soars.

This is a breaking news story, more updates to follow.

Micah Grimes, Matthew Mulligan and Charlene Gubash contributed.

source: nbcnews.com

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