BEIRUT — A massive explosion has shaken Lebanon’s capital Beirut, wounding a of number people and causing widespread damage.
The afternoon blast shook several parts of the capital and thick smoke billowed from the city center.
Some local TV stations reported that the blast was at Beirut’s port.
The state-run National News Agency reported that the source of the explosion was a major fire at a warehouse for firecrackers near the port in Beirut, according to CNN.
The explosion came the same day that dozens of Lebanese protesters tried to storm the Ministry of Energy, angered by prolonged power cuts as the country grapples with a crippling economic crisis.
Security forces pushed back against the angry protesters, chasing away some who breached the ministry perimeter.
Scuffles ensued as protesters pushed the metal barricade and said they plan to set up a sit-in at the ministry.
It's unclear if the protests were linked to the explosion.
Lebanon's economic and financial crisis poses the most significant threat to the country since a devastating 15-year civil war ended in 1990.
The highly indebted government is facing a rapid inflation, soaring unemployment and poverty and has been unable to provide essential resources.