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Massive Beirut blasts seen in Cyprus, heard in Nicosia

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Two massive explosions in the Lebanese port of Beirut Tuesday afternoon were seen from the coast of Cyprus, some 207kms away, and heard inland from the capital Nicosia.

The explosion decimated the grain silos in the country’s main port and caused extensive damage to buildings throughout the Lebanese capital, leaving hundreds injured, according to initial reports.

It was recorded by Independent correspondent Borzou Daragahi in Beirut.

The impact shattered glass windows and destroyed shops and nearby homes, with damage caused as far as Rafik Hariri airport.

The first blast was in a warehouse, that started a chain of minor explosion, leading some 30 seconds later to the second blast that rocked the country, with plumes of red smoke clearly visible from the Cyprus coastal town of Larnaca, where tourists and beachgoers were staring in awe.

The explosion, believed to be of warehouses that had been closed for several months, but where suspicious movement had been reported recently, woke ugly memories of the munitions explosion in Cyprus in July 2011, which killed 13 people, mostly firemen and seamen from the nearby naval station.

The explosion at Mari, that destroyed the nearby Vasiliko power station caused a power outage that took months to repair and brought the island’s economy to a standstill.

It was caused when containers with arms shipment confiscated on their way to Syria on board a Russian cargo ship remained exposed to the scorching Cyprus sun, and was sparked by an ammunitions leak that caught fire.