Thankful to be alive: Israa Seblani, a 29-year-old newlywed, was posing for her wedding photos when a video of the shoot captured the deafening roar from the explosion.
The footage meant to celebrate Seblani’s marriage to 34-year-old businessman Ahmad Subeih, also captured the shocking moment of the blast.
Seblani, who works as a doctor in the United States, arrived in the city a few weeks ago for her wedding, responded to the explosion by helping to check on the injured in her area.
Mahmoud Nakib, the cameraman for the wedding, captured the scenes as the couple rushed into a side street.
Soon after the blast, the couple tried to carry on with their celebrations.
“My husband told me to continue, we can’t stop. I was like okay, why not, we continue. I was not living the moment actually, I was, like walking, my face was smiling, my lips were smiling, that’s it, not more. Then we went to have dinner.”
In an interview with Reuters, the couple narrated how the incident affected them the next day.
“I have been preparing for my big day for two weeks and I was so happy like all other girls, ‘I am getting married’. My parents are going to be happy seeing me in a white dress, I will be looking like a princess,” Seblani was quoted as saying.
The experience was terrifying for both who thought the explosion might kill them at the time.
“I was shocked, I was wondering what happened, am I going to die? How am I going to die?” she added.
Subeih, who is now waiting for his visa so he can live with his new wife in the U.S., says he was reminded of the confusion surrounding the blast.
“We started to walk around and it was extremely sad, it was not describable by the devastation and the sound of the explosion,” he said.“We are still in shock … I have never heard anything similar to the sound of this explosion.”
“There is a lot of damage, many people were killed and wounded. But also if I want to look at us, myself, my husband, the photographer – how we escaped unharmed, I thank God for protecting us,” she said. “This alone makes me feel optimistic and to keep the joy of the occasion that I came here to celebrate.”
Terrible tragedy: The explosion, which reportedly originated at a warehouse in a port in Beirut, has a current death toll of more than 130 and the number of injuries at 5,000.
According to Lebanon’s Prime Minister Hassan Diab, the blast was caused by 2,750 metric tons of ammonium nitrate that have been kept unsecured in a warehouse for about six years.
In 2013, the Russian cargo ship Rhosus allegedly brought the ammonium nitrate cargo to Lebanon, reports the New York Times.
Destined for Mozambique, the ship was abandoned by the Russian businessman who had leased it due to reported legal disputes, and the ammonium nitrate was transferred to the dock warehouse.
The incident sparked anger among the Lebanese people who condemned authorities for their apparent neglect.
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