WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump said U.S. military generals have told him that they think the massive explosion that rocked Beirut on Tuesday, killing more than 100 people, was likely a bomb.
Watch Trump’s remarks in the player above.
“I’ve met with some of our great generals and they just seem to feel that this was not some kind of manufacturing explosion type of an event. … They seem to think it was an attack. It was a bomb of some kind.”
Trump offered his “deepest sympathies” to the people of Lebanon.
U.S. officials said Wednesday there is no indication the massive explosion was an attack, contradicting Trump, who said American generals told him it was likely caused by a bomb.
The officials, speaking only on condition of anonymity to discuss internal assessments, said that while it was not out of the realm of possibility that the blast was deliberately caused, the belief so far is that it was most likely an accident.
From the outset, U.S. officials have said that they did not know the cause of the initial fire and explosions that set off the larger blast. But they say they do believe the reports out of Lebanon claiming a large stockpile of ammonium nitrate left over from a seizure is what exploded.
The explosion flattened much of a port and damaged buildings across the capital, sending a giant mushroom cloud into the sky.
Hours later, ambulances still carried away the wounded as army helicopters helped battle fires raging at the port.
The sudden devastation overwhelmed a country already struggling with both the coronavirus pandemic and an economic crisis.
Trump also talked about the impact of Tropical Storm Isaias and his administration’s continued effort in combating the coronavirus.
The president’s comments comes as the crisis has spread to all reaches of the country, with escalating deaths and little sense of endgame, a chasm has widened between the president and the experts.