Trump says Beirut explosion was caused by a ‘bomb of some kind’

WASHINGTON — At a coronavirus briefing on Tuesday evening, President Trump said an explosion that rocked Beirut, Lebanon, earlier in the day was caused by a “bomb of some kind.” 

Officials in Lebanon had previously stated the blast came from a large quantity of explosive materials that were being held in a warehouse, but Trump, citing conversations with top U.S. military personnel, characterized the explosion as an “attack.” 

“I’ve met with some of our great generals and they seem to feel that it was — this was not some kind of a manufacturing explosion type of event — this was a — seems to be, according to them they would know better than I would — but they seem to think it was an attack,” Trump said. “It was a bomb of some kind.”  

Trump’s remarks on the explosion came in response to a question from a reporter, but they echoed the characterization he made at the start of the briefing, when he said the blast in Beirut “looks like a terrible attack.” 

“Let me begin by sending America’s deepest sympathies to the people of Lebanon, where reports indicate that many many people were killed, hundreds more were very badly wounded in a large explosion in Beirut,” Trump said. “Our prayers go out to all the victims and their families.” 

According to the BBC, the explosion left at least 70 people dead and over 2,700 injured. The White House National Security Council and the Pentagon did not respond to request for comments about the U.S. assessment of the blast. According to Reuters, Israeli officials denied responsibility for the explosion and said it was most likely the result of an accidental fire. 

Trump offered his condolences to the people of Beirut and said “the United States stands ready to assist Lebanon. We have a very good relationship with the people of Lebanon and we will be there to help. It looks like a terrible attack.”

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BEIRUT, LEBANON – AUGUST 4: Smoke rises after a fire at a warehouse with explosives at the Port of Beirut led to massive blasts in Beirut, Lebanon on August 4, 2020. A large number of people were reportedly injured in the blasts, while former Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri — who lives near the area of the explosions — is said to be unharmed, according to initial reports. (Photo by Houssam Shbaro/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

EDITORS NOTE: Graphic content / A wounded man is evacuated by boat following of an explosion near the the port in the Lebanese capital Beirut on August 4, 2020. – Two huge explosion rocked the Lebanese capital Beirut, wounding dozens of people, shaking buildings and sending huge plumes of smoke billowing into the sky. Lebanese media carried images of people trapped under rubble, some bloodied, after the massive explosions, the cause of which was not immediately known. (Photo by STR / AFP) (Photo by STR/AFP via Getty Images)

EDITORS NOTE: Graphic content / A wounded man is evacuated by boat following of an explosion near the the port in the Lebanese capital Beirut on August 4, 2020. – Two huge explosion rocked the Lebanese capital Beirut, wounding dozens of people, shaking buildings and sending huge plumes of smoke billowing into the sky. Lebanese media carried images of people trapped under rubble, some bloodied, after the massive explosions, the cause of which was not immediately known. (Photo by STR / AFP) (Photo by STR/AFP via Getty Images)

EDITORS NOTE: Graphic content / A Lebanese army soldier runs at the scene of an explosion at the port of Lebanon’s capital Beirut on August 4, 2020. (Photo by STR / AFP) (Photo by STR/AFP via Getty Images)

People gather by cars destroyed following an explosion at the port of Lebanon’s capital Beirut on August 4, 2020. – Two huge explosion rocked the Lebanese capital Beirut, wounding dozens of people, shaking buildings and sending huge plumes of smoke billowing into the sky. Lebanese media carried images of people trapped under rubble, some bloodied, after the massive explosions, the cause of which was not immediately known. (Photo by JOSEPH EID / AFP) (Photo by JOSEPH EID/AFP via Getty Images)

People gather by cars destroyed following an explosion at the port of Lebanon’s capital Beirut on August 4, 2020. – Two huge explosion rocked the Lebanese capital Beirut, wounding dozens of people, shaking buildings and sending huge plumes of smoke billowing into the sky. Lebanese media carried images of people trapped under rubble, some bloodied, after the massive explosions, the cause of which was not immediately known. (Photo by JOSEPH EID / AFP) (Photo by JOSEPH EID/AFP via Getty Images)

BEIRUT, LEBANON – AUGUST 4: A damaged car is seen after a fire at a warehouse with explosives at the Port of Beirut led to massive blasts in Beirut, Lebanon on August 4, 2020. A large number of people were reportedly injured in the blasts, while former Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri — who lives near the area of the explosions — is said to be unharmed, according to initial reports. (Photo by Houssam Shbaro/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

This picture taken on August 4, 2020 shows a view of buildings damaged following an explosion at the port of Lebanon’s capital Beirut. – Two huge explosion rocked the Lebanese capital Beirut, wounding dozens of people, shaking buildings and sending huge plumes of smoke billowing into the sky. Lebanese media carried images of people trapped under rubble, some bloodied, after the massive explosions, the cause of which was not immediately known. (Photo by JOSEPH EID / AFP) (Photo by JOSEPH EID/AFP via Getty Images)

BEIRUT, LEBANON – AUGUST 4: A damaged site is seen after a fire at a warehouse with explosives at the Port of Beirut led to massive blasts in Beirut, Lebanon on August 4, 2020. A large number of people were reportedly injured in the blasts, while former Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri — who lives near the area of the explosions — is said to be unharmed, according to initial reports. (Photo by Houssam Shbaro/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

EDITORS NOTE: Graphic content / This picture taken on August 4, 2020 shows a general view of the scene of an explosion at the port of Lebanon’s capital Beirut. – Two huge explosion rocked the Lebanese capital Beirut, wounding dozens of people, shaking buildings and sending huge plumes of smoke billowing into the sky. Lebanese media carried images of people trapped under rubble, some bloodied, after the massive explosions, the cause of which was not immediately known. (Photo by STR / AFP) (Photo by STR/AFP via Getty Images)

BEIRUT, LEBANON – AUGUST 4: People carry wounded people away from the site after a fire at a warehouse with explosives at the Port of Beirut led to massive blasts in Beirut, Lebanon on August 4, 2020. A large number of people were reportedly injured in the blasts, while former Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri — who lives near the area of the explosions — is said to be unharmed, according to initial reports. (Photo by Houssam Shbaro/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

BEIRUT, LEBANON – AUGUST 4: People gather around a damaged ship after a fire at a warehouse with explosives at the Port of Beirut led to massive blasts in Beirut, Lebanon on August 4, 2020. A large number of people were reportedly injured in the blasts, while former Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri — who lives near the area of the explosions — is said to be unharmed, according to initial reports. (Photo by Houssam Shbaro/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

EDITORS NOTE: Graphic content / A helicopter puts out a fire at the scene of an explosion at the port of Lebanon’s capital Beirut on August 4, 2020. (Photo by STR / AFP) (Photo by STR/AFP via Getty Images)

EDITORS NOTE: Graphic content / A picture shows the scene of an explosion near the the port in the Lebanese capital Beirut on August 4, 2020. – Two huge explosion rocked the Lebanese capital Beirut, wounding dozens of people, shaking buildings and sending huge plumes of smoke billowing into the sky. Lebanese media carried images of people trapped under rubble, some bloodied, after the massive explosions, the cause of which was not immediately known. (Photo by STR / AFP) (Photo by STR/AFP via Getty Images)

EDITORS NOTE: Graphic content / A helicopter puts out a fire at the scene of an explosion at the port of Lebanon’s capital Beirut on August 4, 2020. (Photo by STR / AFP) (Photo by STR/AFP via Getty Images)

BEIRUT, LEBANON – AUGUST 04: An elderly woman is helped while walking through debris after a large explosion on August 4, 2020 in Beirut, Lebanon. Video shared on social media showed a structure fire near the port of Beirut followed by a second massive explosion, which damaged surrounding buildings and injured hundreds. (Photo by Daniel Carde/Getty Images)

EDITORS NOTE: Graphic content / A picture shows a destroyed silo at the scene of an explosion at the port in the Lebanese capital Beirut on August 4, 2020. – Two huge explosion rocked the Lebanese capital Beirut, wounding dozens of people, shaking buildings and sending huge plumes of smoke billowing into the sky. Lebanese media carried images of people trapped under rubble, some bloodied, after the massive explosions, the cause of which was not immediately known. (Photo by STR / AFP) (Photo by STR/AFP via Getty Images)

EDITORS NOTE: Graphic content / Wounded people walk near the site of an explosion at the port in the Lebanese capital Beirut on August 4, 2020. – Two huge explosion rocked the Lebanese capital Beirut, wounding dozens of people, shaking buildings and sending huge plumes of smoke billowing into the sky. Lebanese media carried images of people trapped under rubble, some bloodied, after the massive explosions, the cause of which was not immediately known. (Photo by STR / AFP) (Photo by STR/AFP via Getty Images)

EDITORS NOTE: Graphic content / Firefighters evacuate a wounded man from the scene of an explosion at the port in Beirut on August 4, 2020. – Two huge explosion rocked the Lebanese capital Beirut, wounding dozens of people, shaking buildings and sending huge plumes of smoke billowing into the sky. Lebanese media carried images of people trapped under rubble, some bloodied, after the massive explosions, the cause of which was not immediately known. (Photo by Anwar AMRO / AFP) (Photo by ANWAR AMRO/AFP via Getty Images)

EDITORS NOTE: Graphic content / A picture shows the scene of an explosion at the port in Beirut on August 4, 2020. – Two huge explosion rocked the Lebanese capital Beirut, wounding dozens of people, shaking buildings and sending huge plumes of smoke billowing into the sky. Lebanese media carried images of people trapped under rubble, some bloodied, after the massive explosions, the cause of which was not immediately known. (Photo by ANWAR AMRO / AFP) (Photo by ANWAR AMRO/AFP via Getty Images)

EDITORS NOTE: Graphic content / A photo taken from Zaytouna Bay shows a red plume of fire behind a highrise in central Beirut just after a huge explosion rocked the Lebanese capital on August 4, 2020. – Two huge explosion rocked the Lebanese capital Beirut, wounding dozens of people, shaking buildings and sending huge plumes of smoke billowing into the sky. Lebanese media carried images of people trapped under rubble, some bloodied, after the massive explosions, the cause of which was not immediately known. (Photo by Bassem EL HAGE / AFP) (Photo by BASSEM EL HAGE/AFP via Getty Images)

EDITORS NOTE: Graphic content / A picture shows the scene of an explosion at the port in Beirut on August 4, 2020. – Two huge explosion rocked the Lebanese capital Beirut, wounding dozens of people, shaking buildings and sending huge plumes of smoke billowing into the sky. Lebanese media carried images of people trapped under rubble, some bloodied, after the massive explosions, the cause of which was not immediately known. (Photo by ANWAR AMRO / AFP) (Photo by ANWAR AMRO/AFP via Getty Images)

EDITORS NOTE: Graphic content / A picture shows the scene of an explosion at the port in Beirut on August 4, 2020. – Two huge explosion rocked the Lebanese capital Beirut, wounding dozens of people, shaking buildings and sending huge plumes of smoke billowing into the sky. Lebanese media carried images of people trapped under rubble, some bloodied, after the massive explosions, the cause of which was not immediately known. (Photo by ANWAR AMRO / AFP) (Photo by ANWAR AMRO/AFP via Getty Images)

EDITORS NOTE: Graphic content / Valarie Fakhoury, a British-Lebanese national, stands outside the emergency ward of a hospital in the Hamra district of central Beirut following a huge explosion that rocked the Lebanese capital on August 4, 2020. – A large explosion rocked the Lebanese capital Beirut on August 4, an AFP correspondent said. The blast, which rattled entire buildings and broke glass, was felt in several parts of the city. (Photo by Janine HAIDAR / AFP) (Photo by JANINE HAIDAR/AFP via Getty Images)

EDITORS NOTE: Graphic content / Smoke billows following an explosion in the Lebanese capital Beirut on August 4, 2020. – Two huge explosion rocked the Lebanese capital Beirut, wounding dozens of people, shaking buildings and sending huge plumes of smoke billowing into the sky. Lebanese media carried images of people trapped under rubble, some bloodied, after the massive explosions, the cause of which was not immediately known. (Photo by JOSEPH EID / AFP) (Photo by JOSEPH EID/AFP via Getty Images)

EDITORS NOTE: Graphic content / A man helps another injured in the aftermath of an explosion along a street in the Hamra district of Lebanon’s capital Beirut on August 4, 2020. – A large explosion rocked the Lebanese capital Beirut on August 4, an AFP correspondent said. The blast, which rattled entire buildings and broke glass, was felt in several parts of the city. (Photo by Janine HAIDAR / AFP) (Photo by JANINE HAIDAR/AFP via Getty Images)

People gather near the scene of an explosion in Beirut on August 4, 2020. – A large explosion rocked the Lebanese capital Beirut today, an AFP correspondent said. The blast, which rattled entire buildings and broke glass, was felt in several parts of the city. (Photo by Anwar AMRO / AFP) (Photo by ANWAR AMRO/AFP via Getty Images)

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