Over 50 people have been killed and around 2,500 injured in two huge explosions that rocked Lebanese capital Beirut, Health Minister Hamad Hassan said.
The blasts took place on Tuesday evening (around 6.10 p.m. -- local time), shaking buildings all over the city while also causing severe damages and casualties.
Hassan was quoted by al-Jadeed TV as saying that more than 50 people were killed and 2,500 others were injured in the blasts. The number of casualties is expected to rise.
The causes of the blasts remained unknown, but Lebanese Interior Minister Mohammad Fahmi said that the explosive chemicals stored at Port of Beirut may have caused the explosions.
"Customs' authorities must be asked about the reasons behind storing such chemical materials at Port of Beirut," Fahmi said.
The videos and pictures of the explosions soon went viral on the internet, with Twitter users praying for Lebanon and capital city Beirut.
Here are a few Twitter reactions:
Meanwhile, many countries expressed solidarity and sympathy with Lebanon over the explosions.
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said on Tuesday that Iran is ready to offer help to Lebanon after the huge blasts caused massive casualties and damages in Beirut.
"Our thoughts and prayers are with the great and resilient people of Lebanon," Zarif tweeted. "As always, Iran is fully prepared to render assistance in any way necessary," he said. "Stay strong, Lebanon," he added.
Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi extended his condolences to Lebanon over the deadly explosions that rocked the Lebanese capital.
"My sincere condolences and sympathy go to the government and people of Lebanon, over the tragic explosions that happened today in the Lebanese capital Beirut," Sisi wrote on his official Facebook page.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said his country is ready to provide any support it could to Lebanon to help it recover from the tragedy, while sending his condolences to the families of the victims.
US President Donald Trump said U.S. military generals have told him that they think the massive explosion was likely a bomb.
"Let me begin by sending America's deepest sympathies to the people of Lebanon, where reports indicate that many, many people were killed, hundreds more were very badly wounded in a large explosion in Beirut," Trump said at a press briefing Tuesday evening.
"Our prayers go out to all the victims and their families. The United States ready to assist Lebanon," he said.
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said at least one Australian has been killed in the Beirut blast and the Australian Embassy building has been "significantly compromised." "Terrible scenes out of Beirut after a major explosion. Our hearts go out to those caught up in this tragedy and to our Australian Lebanese community waiting to hear from their loved ones. Australia stands ready to provide our support, including to any Australians affected," he tweeted.
Russian President Vladimir Putin sent his condolences to Lebanese President Michel Aoun in connection with the casualties and massive destruction caused by the explosion, the Kremlin said.
(With input from agencies)