A petrol tanker exploded in Lebanon Sunday morning, killing at least 20 people and injuring 79 others, as individuals were allegedly attempting to siphon gas from a nearby warehouse amid a fuel shortage, the Lebanese Red Cross said.
The Red Cross said that 20 persons were killed and 79 were injured in the Akkar area incident, with 24 ambulances and 75 EMTs responding at the scene, and a search for missing people was also underway.
The source of the explosion was still being investigated, however several of those injured indicated they were attempting to siphon gas from a neighboring warehouse, according to Lebanon’s National News Agency.
The Lebanese Army had been present at the site earlier in the day after men discovered the stored fuel.
People rushed to the area to fill the remaining gas in the tank after the army left.
With the country in the grip of a fuel crisis, the army had previously claimed that it was invading gas stations and “confiscating the stockpiled stocks of gasoline.”
Citizens set fire to the residence of a man suspected of hoarding the fuel on Sunday, according to officials.
The American University of Beirut Medical Center said on Saturday that it would be forced to close by Monday due to a lack of fuel to power its private generators, citing the death of at least 40 adults and 15 children on respirators as a reason.
In a tweet Sunday, former Prime Minister Saad Hariri called for the resignation of Lebanese President Michel Aoun and other government officials “responsible for this dereliction.”