Lebanon Gov’t Declares Emergency In Beirut After Deadly Explosion

Dozens remain missing after huge explosion sent shock waves through Lebanese capital, as death toll rises to 135.

The Lebanese government has declared a two-week state of emergency in Beirut, effectively giving the military full powers, after a massive explosion devastated Lebanon’s capital and killed at least 135 people.

About 5,000 people were wounded in the blast and rescue workers continued the search for survivors on Wednesday, combing through the wreckage of buildings. Dozens of people remained missing and the death toll was expected to rise.

The cause of the explosion was not immediately clear but officials have linked it to a large stockpile of ammonium nitrate that was stored at the port for years.

After an emergency Cabinet meeting on Wednesday, the government said it would place an unspecified number of Beirut port officials under house arrest pending an investigation into how the highly explosive material came to be stored at the port.

The government said the military would oversee the house arrest of those responsible for storage and guarding at the Beirut port from June 2014 until the explosion.