Tekeyan School of Beirut's exterior showing damage from the explosion (courtesy Zartonk newspaper of Beirut)

Massive Explosion Ripped Through Beirut, Tekeyan School and Armenian Institutions Damaged: Video Included; Updated

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BEIRUT (AP, CNN, Tekeyan School, Zartonk) — Massive explosions rocked downtown Beirut on Tuesday, August 4, flattening much of the port, damaging buildings and blowing out windows and doors as a giant mushroom cloud rose above the capital. Witnesses saw many people injured by flying glass and debris. According to the Lebanese health minister, at least 100 were killed and over 4,000 injured, in figures that are being constantly increased. Some 300,000 people were displaced from their homes.

Tekeyan School building (courtesy Baydzig Kalaydjian)

The Tekeyan School and Tekeyan Center were damaged as well as Armenian institutions such as the Prelacy in Bourj Hammoud, and the Armenian General Benevolent Union Demirjian Center and others in Antelias.

Damage to AGBU Demirjian Center in Beirut

An Associated Press photographer near the port saw people lying injured on the ground, and hospitals called for blood donations, but exact casualties were not immediately known.

Tekeyan School building (courtesy Baydzig Kalaydjian)

Among the Armenians killed is Nazar Najarian, secretary general of the Christian Democratic Kataeb Party or Phalange.

Miles from the scene of the blast, balconies were knocked down, ceiling collapsed and windows were shattered.

Tekeyan Center building (courtesy Baydzig Kalaydjian)

The cause of the blast was not immediately clear. Lebanese officials said it appeared that over 2,700 tons of ammonium nitrate in storage since 2014 in a port warehouse had detonated. It came at a time when Lebanon is passing through its worst economic and financial crisis in decades.

Tekeyan School building (courtesy Baydzig Kalaydjian)

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It also comes amid rising tensions between Israel and the militant Hezbollah group along Lebanon’s southern border.

Online video showed a column of smoke rising from the port area from what appeared to be an initial explosion, followed by a massive blast that sent up a mushroom cloud and a shock wave racing over the city.

Some local TV stations reported the blast was at Beirut’s port inside an area where fireworks were stored.

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Posted by Vahan Tekeyan on Wednesday, August 5, 2020

There were reports of toxic gases released as a result of the explosion.

The following video, courtesy of Zartonk, is of the Tekeyan School building in Bourj Hammoud, whose interior and exterior experienced damages. Further details will be reported when available.

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