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Several UN peacekeepers injured in Beirut seaport blast

MOSCOW, August 5. /TASS/. Several peacekeepers of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) were injured as a result of the blast that rocked the Lebanese capital of Beirut on Tuesday, the UNIFIL command said in a statement.

"As a result of a huge explosion that rocked Beirut Port this evening, one of the UNIFIL ships of the Maritime Task Force docked in the port was damaged, leaving some UNIFIL naval peacekeepers injured - some of them seriously," the statement says.

UNIFIL is transporting the injured peacekeepers to the nearest hospitals for medical treatment and is assessing the situation, including the scale of the impact on UNIFIL personnel. The exact number of injured peacekeepers is unknown at the moment.

UNIFIL Head of Mission and Force Commander Major General Del Col said: "We are with the people and the Government of Lebanon during this difficult time and stand ready to help and provide any assistance and support."

A powerful blast rocked the Beirut seaport district on Tuesday, sending a shockwave that ripped through residential areas of the Lebanese capital. The shockwave destroyed and damaged dozens of buildings and cars. A TASS correspondent learned from sources in the Lebanese capital that a cargo of ammonium nitrate had been stored in the port after being confiscated from a Moldovan vessel with Ukrainian crew in 2015.

According to latest reports, 78 people were killed and some 4,000 injured in the disaster. An effort to search for victims and remove debris is now under way. The government declared a four-day nationwide mourning.