Beirut: The death toll from a fuel tank blast in Lebanon’s northern district of Akkar has increased to 29, while 79 others were injured, according to authorities.
The Lebanese army said that the dead and the injured included security personnel and citizens, reports Xinhua news agency.
Security sources were quoted by media outlets as saying that the explosion took place on Sunday when the army was distributing fuel among citizens after having seized a fuel storage tank hidden by black marketeers in Akkar.
Sources added that about 200 people were nearby at the time of the explosion. Moreover, the Lebanese Red Cross announced earlier in the day that its teams were still searching the scene.
The High Relief Committee urged all international organisations in Lebanon to provide medicines and other materials needed to treat the severely injured persons in the explosion.
The committee’s Secretary General Mohamad Kheir said that he has contacted officials in Turkey and Egypt to transfer some severe burn cases for treatment in these countries.
President Michel Aoun expressed his deep sadness for the incident, and held a meeting with the Higher Defense Council to discuss the latest developments.
Lebanon, which is facing an unprecedented financial crisis, has been grappling with fuel shortages for months.