MANILA, Philippines – Was it an accident or was it deliberate?
Even Philippine Foreign Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr speculated, in the first few hours after the explosion: "No wait, it wasn't terrorism; it was breathtaking incompetence. Now we are all in danger."
What really caused the Beirut explosions?
Rappler is compiling statements of key officials about the possible cause of the Beirut blast. We are updating this page as this story develops.
Lebanese Prime Minister Hassan Diab said that 2,750 tons of the agricultural fertilizer ammonium nitrate that had been stored for years in a portside warehouse had blown up, sparking "a disaster in every sense of the word."
General Security chief Abbas Ibrahim earlier said the "highly explosive material" had been confiscated years earlier and stored in the warehouse, just minutes' walk from Beirut's shopping and nightlife districts.
US President Donald Trump said US generals had told him that the powerful explosions which rocked Beirut appeared to have been caused by a "bomb of some kind."
"It looks like a terrible attack," Trump told reporters at the White House.
"It would seem like it, based on the explosion. I met with some of our great generals and they just seemed to feel that it was," he said.
"This was not some kind of a manufacturing explosion type of event. It seems to be, according to them – they would know better than I would – but they seem to think it was an attack.
"It was a bomb of some kind, yes."
Lebanese officials have not described the explosions which rocked the capital as an attack.
Please refresh this page for updates. – Rappler.com