Lebanese bride's photoshoot interrupted by deadly Beirut explosion

The moment a Lebanese bride's photoshoot is interrupted by deadly Beirut explosion
3 min read
06 August, 2020
A bride was caught unawares after a photoshoot for her upcoming wedding was interrupted by the Beirut explosion at the port, forcing her to take shelter in a house.
The bride recalls the horrifying moment of the explosion [Mahmoud Nakib/Guardian screengrab]
A Lebanese bride recalled the terrifying moment her wedding photoshoot turned into a scramble for safety following the deadly Beirut explosion that killed at least 135 people and injured thousands.

Dr Israa Seblani and Ahmad Sbeih had been on the streets of Beirut on Tuesday afternoon with the bride posing in her white wedding dress.

The couple were taking pictures in Saifi Village, an upscale neighbourhood in Beirut, less than two miles away from the port where the explosion occurred.

"We were filming an outdoor photo session for the (Seblani) and (Sbeih), then we heard an explosion," Nakib told CNN.

"That was the first explosion, we thought that is was far away, we continued filming normally."

The filming didn’t continue for much longer.

"In just one second, the sky turned black and we heard the second explosion," Nakib said.

The video, which has been shared across social media, shows the shockwaves following the explosion, with broken glass windows and smoke covering the neighbourhood.

"The area I was in - within matter of seconds - it went from beautiful place to ghost town filled with dust, shattered glass and people yelling [and] bleeding," Seblani said.

"It was like a nightmare scene."

The pair, along with the wedding party, sought shelter inside. Nobody was injured.

Seblani’s account is just one of hundreds, with the blast causing damage or destruction to tens of thousands of homes.

Over 4,000 people were injured, and more than 135 lost their lives after the blast, which experts believe was caused by 2,750 tonnes of stored fertiliser ammonium nitrate at a warehouse.

Over half of the city has been destroyed and the explosion caused billions of dollars in damages to a country already carrying the weight of a financial crisis.

Aid groups are helping on the ground, and nations are offering support to the damaged country.

France’s President Emmanuel Macron was one of the first to pledge aid to Lebanon, and is in Beirut to discuss how he can help.

"I will go to Beirut tomorrow (Thursday) to bring the Lebanese people a message of fraternity and solidarity from the French," Macron wrote on Twitter on Wednesday.

Read more: Beirut Explosion: Be angry, not just sad, for Lebanon

"We will discuss the situation with the political authorities," he added.

The president's Elysee Palace office said Macron will "meet all political actors", including President Michel Aoun and Prime Minister Hassan Diab.

"The fact that Emmanuel Macron has so rapidly taken the bull by the horns and is coming to Beirut is being warmly welcomed in Lebanon," said Karim Emile Bitar, professor of international relations at Saint Joseph University in Beirut.

Follow us on FacebookTwitter and Instagram to stay connected