A large explosion rocked the port area of the Lebanese capital Beirut on Tuesday, rippling through several parts of the city and causing widespread damage.
Lebanon’s health minister was quoted by local media as saying there was a “very high number” of injuries.
Images of the explosion showed shattered windows and other destruction kilometers away from the port area.
There was no immediate word on the cause of the blast, but some local media reported it occurred in an area of the port where firecrackers were warehoused.
The explosion came as a U.N.-backed court is trying four people from the Shi’ite Hezbollah group suspected of killing Lebanon’s former Sunni leader Rafik Hariri in a truck bombing 15 years ago, causing regional upheaval.
The court is scheduled to deliver a verdict on Friday that could shake the country again.
The blast also occurred during one of Lebanon’s worst economic and financial crises in decades and amid escalating tensions between Hezbollah and Israel along Lebanon’s southern border.