Fuel tank explodes in grief-stricken Beirut; 4 killed

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A diesel tank exploded inside a Beirut building on Friday night, killing four people and injuring several others, the Lebanese Red Cross said.

It was not immediately clear what triggered the blast in the western neighborhood of Tariq Jadidah. The state-run National News Agency said the blaze erupted inside a bakery in the basement of the building.

Firefighters quickly put out the blaze and later helped building residents stuck in their apartments by the fire to climb down ladders. Lebanese troops also deployed to the area and pushed back onlookers.

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The explosion came two months after a massive blast at Beirut’s port killed nearly 200 people, injured about 6,500 and caused damage worth billions of dollars. Nearly 3,000 tons of ammonium nitrate, a highly explosive chemical used in fertilizers, exploded at Beirut’s port on Aug. 4. The material had been stored at the facility for six years.

It is still not known what ignited the nitrate but more than two dozen people, many of them port and customs officials have been detained since.

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