Lebanon’s prime minister has called for a day of mourning on Wednesday after a huge explosion killed at least 70 people and injured more than 3,000 in Beirut.
Hassan Diab called Tuesday afternoon’s explosion a “big catastrophe” and said those responsible would pay the price.
He tweeted that the explosion was caused by more than 2,700 tonnes of ammonium nitrate left unsecured at a warehouse near the city’s port for six years.
Video shows the moment a building exploded, sending a huge shockwave across the city that was heard and felt as far away as Cyprus – more than 125 miles (200km) away.
Pictures showed cars upturned and streets covered in shattered glass and twisted metal.
Lebanon’s internal security chief, Abbas Ibrahim, also said the blast may have been caused by explosive material confiscated from a ship and stored at the port.
Earlier reports had suggested the building was a fireworks storage warehouse.
US President Donald Trump said his generals believed the explosion was probably a bomb attack – but did not provide any evidence or further explanation.
Residents reported collapsed ceilings and shattered windows as far away as 2km (1.2 miles), as a huge column of smoke rose over the city.
People were seen wounded on the ground near the port, according to a photographer at the scene.
One hospital said it could not take any more patients and was appealing for blood, local media said, as others pleaded for generators to keep their lights on.
Sky News Middle East editor Zein Ja’far, who was in downtown Beirut at the time of the explosion, said it had caused windows to “cave in”.
“It tore apart the facade of the building we’re in, and once the dust settled we managed to get ourselves and others in this block outside,” said Ja’far.
He said there were a lot of “very dazed, very bloodied people” wandering around in shock after the blast.
Fady Roumieh was standing in a car park east of the blast and said it was “like a nuclear bomb”.
“The damage is so widespread and severe all over the city,” said the Beirut resident.
“Some buildings as far as 2km are partially collapsed. It’s like a war zone. The damage is extreme. Not one glass window intact.”
As night fell, a fire was still active in the port district and ambulance sirens sounded across the city.
Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said the UK was “ready to offer help and support” to those affected.
A small number of staff at the country’s embassy in Beirut have been left with non-life threatening injuries and are receiving medical attention, said a government spokesperson.
Israel has said it had “nothing to do with the incident” and humanitarian and medical assistance is being offered as “this is the time to transcend conflict”.
The explosion comes as Lebanon experiences its worst economic and financial crisis in decades – and amid rising tensions between Israel and militant Hezbollah group along Lebanon’s southern border.