Fact Check: No, Beirut Blast Was Not A Nuclear Explosion

The Logical Indian Fact check team investigates the claim that Beirut explosion was due to a Nuclear Missile.

India   |   7 Aug 2020 10:22 AM GMT
Writer : Aditi Chattopadhyay | Editor : Bharat Nayak | Creatives : Abhishek M
Fact Check: No, Beirut Blast Was Not A Nuclear Explosion

A massive explosion ripped through the central Beirut on August 4, claiming at least 78 lives, injuring over 4,000 people and damaging distant buildings. Shocking visuals, which captured the devastation in the city, showed buildings shaking and wounded people stumbling along the rubbles.

Soon after the incident, a piece of news started floating around on social media platforms which claimed that Beirut was hit with Nuclear Missile.

Below is a screenshot of a report carrying this piece of 'news'.

The Logical Indian received a request to Fact check the claim.


Beirut explosion was due to a Nuclear Missile.

Fact Check:

The claim is false.

According to Lebanese authorities, the blast occurred at a warehouse along the Beirut waterfront.

Reportedly, Ammonium nitrate caused devastating Beirut explosions. Ammonium Nitrate is an odourless crystalline substance commonly used as a fertiliser. Combined with fuel oils, it becomes a potent explosive.

According to Lebanese Prime Minister Hassan Diab, 2,750 metric tons of ammonium nitrate that had been stored for years in a Beirut portside warehouse had exploded which claimed the lives of people and led to damage to the capital.

Officials have also claimed that fireworks too played a role in the explosion. Since the compound itself can't, in general, detonate on its own, it requires a separate ignition source. Reportedly, this ignition source likely came from "a fire that engulfed what initially appeared to be fireworks that were stored at the port".

"Before the big explosion, you can see in the center of the fire, you can see sparks, you can hear sounds like popcorn and you can hear whistles," Boaz Hayoun, owner of the Tamar Group, an Israeli firm that works closely with the Israeli government on safety and certification issues involving explosives told The Associated Press.

"This is very specific behaviour of fireworks, the visuals, the sounds and the transformation from a slow burn to a massive explosion," he added.

Further, videos from the explosion show what resembles fireworks igniting, the same footages, however, does not show any incoming missile before the explosion.

Although the footages do show a mushroom cloud, as seen below. The explosion, however, does not show any other sign of a typical nuclear explosion.

According to Jeffrey Lewis, a missile expert at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies in Monterey, California, the white cloud that followed the massive blast seemed to be a condensation cloud. This usually occurs in massive explosions in humid conditions that can follow the shock waves of an explosion.

Further, the orange clouds that were seen after the blast likely occurred from "toxic nitrogen dioxide gas that's released after an explosion involving nitrates".

Did Trump And Israel Confirm Nuclear Attack?

Reportedly, Israel offered humanitarian aid to Lebanon through the United Nations.

Further, the office of Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu tweeted in solidarity with the Lebanese people.

"On behalf of the government of Israel, I send my condolences to the people of Lebanon," reads the tweet.

"Yesterday Lebanon suffered a major catastrophe. We are ready to offer humanitarian assistance, as a human being to human beings," the tweet further said.

While addressing reporters on August 4, Trump had said that the Beirut explosion "looks like a terrible attack." On being questioned about his use of the word "attack," the president of America said that "it would seem like it, based on the explosion."

"I've met with some of our great generals, and they just seem to feel that it was. This was not some kind of a manufacturing explosion-type of event," Trump added.

However, several Defense Department officials contradicted the president's views on the incident.

Politifact has debunked the claims earlier.

If you have any news that you believe needs to be fact-checked, please email us at factcheck@thelogicalindian.com or WhatsApp at 6364000343.

Also Read: Fact Check: Photos Of Ram On Times Square Go Viral, Know Which One Is Real

Claim Review :  
Claimed By :  Social Media posts
Fact Check :  False
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Aditi Chattopadhyay

Aditi Chattopadhyay

Fact Checker

Aditi, part of the fact checking team of The Logical Indian likes to read, write, cook and laugh, in short live life as it is supposed to be. What makes her fascinated is to discover the truth behind a story and more often than not, it is either fact or myth at the end.

Bharat Nayak

Bharat Nayak

Founding Editor- Special Project

As the founding editor, Bharat had been heading the newsroom during the formation years of the organization and worked towards editorial policies, conceptualizing and designing campaign strategies and collaborations. He believes that through the use of digital media, one could engage the millennial's in rational conversations about pertinent social issues, provoking them to think and bring a behavioral change accordingly.

Abhishek M

Abhishek M

Creative Producer

" An engineer by profession, Abhishek is the creative producer of the team, graphic designing is his passion and travelling his get away. In more ways than one, he makes the content visually appealing."

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