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The US president says his military chiefs have told him the explosion was likely to have been an attack.

Donald Trump has contradicted Lebanese officials and suggested a “terrible attack” caused a massive explosion that killed at least 70 people in Beirut.

The cause of the blast, which also injured thousands of others, has not been confirmed – but the Lebanese prime minister has blamed thousands of tonnes of ammonium nitrate stored at a warehouse.

Mr Trump told reporters: “I’ve met with some of our great generals and they just seem to feel that this was not some kind of manufacturing explosion type of an event… They seem to think it was an attack. It was a bomb of some kind.”

The explosion happened in the city's port area
The explosion happened in the city’s port area

The US president did not say what information his generals had used to inform their opinion, but it clashes with the early assessments of officials in the Middle Eastern country.

Prime Minister Hassan Diab tweeted on Tuesday night to point the finger at what he said was an estimated 2750 tonnes of ammonium nitrate that had been stored dangerously for six years at a warehouse

A picture shows the scene of an explosion in Beirut on August 4, 2020. - A large explosion rocked the Lebanese capital Beirut on August 4, an AFP correspondent said. The blast, which rattled entire buildings and broke glass, was felt in several parts of the city. (Photo by Anwar AMRO / AFP) (Photo by ANWAR AMRO/AFP via Getty Images)
A huge smoke cloud billowed into the sky after Tuesday afternoon’s blast
BEIRUT, LEBANON - AUGUST 04: An injured man rests in a chair after a large explosion on August 4, 2020 in Beirut, Lebanon. Video shared on social media showed a structure fire near the port of Beirut followed by a second massive explosion, which damaged surrounding buildings and injured hundreds. (Photo by Daniel Carde/Getty Images)
Many walking wounded were left dazed in the city streets

Ammonium nitrate is a chemical compound used as fertiliser and also in explosives.

Lebanon’s internal security chief, Abbas Ibrahim, earlier echoed the prime minister and said a highly explosive material had been confiscated from a ship some time ago and stored at the port.

Local TV station LBC named the substance as ammonium nitrate.

A a counter-terrorist bomb disposal operator looked at footage of the smoke produced by the explosion and told Sky News it was unlikely to have been caused by gunpowder or ammunition.

Large parts of the Lebanese capital have been devastated by Tuesday afternoon’s explosion, which sent a huge shockwave across the city.

Residents reported collapsed ceilings and shattered windows as far as 2km (1.2 miles) away and the explosion was even heard and felt in Cyprus.

Beirut resident Fady Roumieh, who was standing in a car park east of the blast and said it was “like a nuclear bomb”

Source: Sky News

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