World offers support, condolences to Lebanon after devastating blasts

Close allies and traditional adversaries of Lebanon paid tribute on Tuesday to the victims of massive, deadly twin blasts in Beirut, as condolences and offers of help poured in.

Lebanon’s Prime Minister Hassan Diab called on “friendly countries” to support a country already reeling from its worst economic crisis in decades and the coronavirus pandemic.

UN chief Antonio Guterres expressed his “deepest condolences … following the horrific explosions in Beirut” which he said had also injured some United Nations personnel.

US President Donald Trump said “it looks like a terrible attack” and that US generals had told him that the powerful explosions appeared to have been caused by a “bomb of some kind”, without offering evidence.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo tweeted that “we are monitoring and stand ready to assist the people of Lebanon as they recover from this horrible tragedy”.

In the region, Gulf nations were among the first to react, with Qatar promising to send field hospitals to support the medical response.

Qatar’s ruler Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani wished “a speedy recovery for the injured,” while the United Arab Emirates’ Vice President and ruler of Dubai, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum, tweeted “our condolences to our beloved people in Lebanon.”

Kuwait said it would also send emergency medical aid.

Egypt expressed “deep concern” at the destruction, and Arab League chief Ahmed Aboulgheit offered condolences, stressing “the importance of finding the truth about the explosions”.

And unusually, neighbouring Israel offered humanitarian aid — to a country with which it is still technically at war.

“Defence Minister Benny Gantz and Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi, on behalf of the State of Israel, have offered the Lebanese government — via international intermediaries — medical and humanitarian aid, as well as immediate emergency assistance,” a statement read. (AFP)

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