President Donald Trump expressed sympathy for the victims of a horrific explosion in Lebanon that captivated the world on Tuesday and offered his thoughts on what went wrong.
Trump said Tuesday that his generals believe a “bomb of some kind” was behind what he called an “attack” in Beirut, according to the Washington Examiner.
“A bomb of some kind”
The world was left searching for answers after a massive explosion gouged through the Lebanese capital, leaving scores dead and an untold number wounded.
As CBS News reported, the catastrophe was captured on disturbing and dramatic video that depicts a building on fire before a giant mushroom cloud erupts over the city.
Public officials in Lebanon have characterized the tragedy as a freak accident involving chemicals stored haphazardly at a warehouse, but the incident immediately sparked theories of a terrorist attack.
At his Tuesday press conference, Trump said that members of his top military brass believe that a bomb was responsible for the devastation.
“It would seem like [an attack], based on the explosion. I’ve met with some of our great generals, and they just seem to feel that it was. This was not some kind of a manufacturing explosion type of event,” Trump said, according to the Examiner. “This was a — 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.”
Lebanon has a long history of strife and paramilitary activity, including a brutal civil war that ran from 1975 to 1990.
But officials there believe that some 3,000 tons of stored ammonium nitrate are to blame, and port officials in the city have been placed under house arrest while an investigation is underway, according to the Associated Press.
The impact from the blast, the biggest in Beirut’s history, was felt all through the city and was heard as far away as the island of Cyprus, as the BBC noted. As of Wednesday, the death toll from the explosion rose to at least 135, with thousands injured and some 300,00 left homeless, according to Fox News.
The tragedy comes as Lebanon has been roiled by unrest over poor living conditions and an economic crisis that has fueled rage against the ruling class, the BBC reported.
“Our prayers go out to all the victims and their families. The United States stands ready to assist Lebanon,” Trump said Tuesday, according to the Examiner. “We have a very good relationship with the people of Lebanon, and we will be there to help.”