German embassy employee killed in Beirut explosion

Berlin has sent aid and rescue teams to the Lebanese capital where the explosions have left more than 250,000 residents homeless

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A worker at the German embassy in Beirut died in the twin explosions that rocked the Lebanese capital on Tuesday, Germany's Foreign Ministry has confirmed.

Heiko Maas, the German foreign minister, announced the death in a statement on Thursday.

“Our worst fear has been confirmed. A member of our embassy in Beirut was killed in the aftermath of the explosion in her home. All employees of the Federal Foreign Office are deeply saddened by their colleague,” Mr Maas said.

“I have expressed my condolences to the relatives and staff of the Beirut embassy, also on behalf of my colleagues and the federal government. I would like to thank everyone who, like our late colleague, takes great personal risks around the world every day in serving our country.”

The twin blasts in Beirut on Tuesday evening killed at least 137 people and injured more than 5,000, causing devastating damage to the city.

Beirut explosion as seen by people around the city

Beirut explosion as seen by people around the city

Germany sent aid and rescue teams to Beirut late on Wednesday to assist local authorities in dealing with the aftermath of the blast at the city’s port, which has left more than 250,000 people without homes fit to live in.

The German THW, the technical emergency organisation, and Isar Germany, the international search and rescue teams, were on the flight from Frankfurt to the Lebanese capital.

The plane was carrying search and rescue dogs, medical assessment teams, as well as 15 tonnes of equipment and tools, the THW chief of operations Timo Eilhard told Reuters.

The explosions, which could be felt about 230 kilometres away in Cyprus, was the most powerful ever to hit the Lebanese capital. The city was already reeling from a financial crisis and a spike in coronavirus infections.

Before the incident, Lebanon was already hosting more than 1.5 million refugees from the war in neighbouring Syria.

About half of the city was damaged by the larger blast, which Lebanon's government has blamed on 2,750 tonnes of ammonium nitrate, a highly explosive fertiliser, stored in an unsecured warehouse in the port.

Lebanese Prime Minister Hassan Diab has said he will determine the exact cause of the explosions and “who was responsible”.

Countries around the world have voiced their support and pledged to send aid to help repair damage estimated at between $3 billion and $5bn (Dh11bn-Dh18.4bn).