Washington – President Donald Trump said on Tuesday that US generals had told him that the powerful explosion which rocked Beirut appeared to have been caused by a “bomb of some kind”.
“It looks like a terrible attack,” said Trump to 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.
Prime Minister Hassan Diab said 2,750 tonnes of the agricultural fertilizer ammonium nitrate that had been stored for years in a Beirut portside warehouse had blown up, sparking “a disaster in every sense of the word.”
“What happened today will not pass without accountability,” said Diab. “Those responsible for this catastrophe will pay the price.”
General Security chief Abbas Ibrahim said “highly explosive material” that had been confiscated years earlier had been stored in the warehouse.
The Lebanese health ministry said at least 78 people were killed and 4,000 injured across wide parts of the country’s biggest city.
Questioned about Trump’s remarks, a Pentagon spokesman said “we don’t have anything for you” and “You will have to reach the White House for clarification”.