Death toll in huge Beirut explosion rises to 135

<p>Aftermath of the twin blasts in Beirut, Lebanon <em>(Anadolu photo) </em></p>

Aftermath of the twin blasts in Beirut, Lebanon (Anadolu photo) 

ISTANBUL – The death toll in Tuesday’s huge blast that ripped through Lebanon’s capital Beirut has risen to 135, the country’s health minister said on Wednesday.

Nearly 5,000 victims were injured and dozens of them are still missing, Hamad Hassan said.

A fire at a warehouse containing explosives at the Port of Beirut led to a massive blast on Tuesday, causing material damage in several neighborhoods of the capital.

Lebanese President Michel Aoun cited ammonium nitrate as the source of the explosion, which leveled a three-story building and was heard across the city and its suburbs.

The Supreme Defense Council in Lebanon has declared Beirut a disaster-stricken city and announced a state of emergency in the capital for two weeks.

Tuesday's explosion deepens woes of the country that has been suffering from a severe economic crisis and intense political polarization for months. (Anadolu)