25,000 tons of ammonia gas is stored at the port east of the capital Tripoli, which witnessed the use of rocket-propelled grenades in clashes between two factions of forces loyal to warlord Haftar, according to Mustafa Sanallah.
The port blast is taking popular anger to a new level in a country already reeling from an unprecedented economic and financial crisis and near bankruptcy.
Denying accusations that it had been storing arms at the Beirut port, Lebanon's powerful Hezbollah movement says the army should lead such a probe because it is "trusted" by all.
Anti-government protesters sparked a blaze, vandalised stores and lobbed stones at security forces, according to the state-run National News Agency.
Any assistance that comes Lebanon's way needs to be apolitical, or it will tip an already fragile balance.
Beirut is a city in shock but its residents are clear-eyed about who they see as the culprit behind the disaster at the port.
Despite strict rules regulating the trade of ammonium nitrate, businesses often fail to take necessary precautions.
Commonly used as a fertiliser, the compound can easily become explosive if precautions are not taken.
With deaths and injuries on the rise, nations are offering help and people are taking to social media to express solidarity and condolences.
Key Safety Systems has completed the $1.6 billion acquisition of bankrupt Takata, marking the end of the 85-year-old Japanese automotive supplier at the centre of a global recall of exploding airbags.
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