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Various Lebanese churches were leveled by an explosion on Tuesday in Beirut. The blast radius, shown here, contains the capital city's highest concentration of Catholic churches.
So far, hundreds are presumed dead and thousands more injured. The explosion was equivalent to 5.4 kilotons of TNT. For reference, the blast was over one third the size of the bomb dropped on Hiroshima in 1945.
State authorities say the whole thing was an accident — that a warehouse containing almost three metric tons of ammonium nitrate, a highly explosive chemical used for fertilizer and bombs, was ignited by a "fireworks factory" that caught fire next door. There are still no reports on how the fireworks factory was set ablaze.
Richard Silverstein, a freelance contributor to The Guardian, says a highly confidential Israeli source told him it wasn't a fireworks factory and was Muslim terror group Hezbollah's munitions stockpile — a stockpile his source claims the Israeli military was intent on destroying in response to Hezbollah carrying out a raid on IDF forces in late July at the northern Israeli border.
Others blame the Muslim terror group, claiming Hezbollah ignited the fire to attack the nation's Christians and kill Lebanese prime minister Hassan Diab, though it seems unlikely, as Diab was endorsed by Hezbollah in 2019.
With faithful Catholics rocked by destruction, death and injury, Beirut cardinal Bechara Boutros Rai is begging for support for those affected. For the perplexed faithful questioning the incident, there is still no concrete answer — only prayers that those responsible are brought to justice.