International

Beirut explosion: World leaders to hold aid summit

International leaders will hold talks on Sunday to raise aid for Beirut after the massive explosion which devastated the Lebanese capital on Tuesday.

The virtual conference – set up by France and the United Nations – starts at 14:00 Lebanon time (11;00 GMT).

US President Donald Trump has said he plans to join the call.

Officials estimate the blast at the warehouse, which stored 2,000 tonnes of ammonium nitrate, caused up to $15 billion (£11.5bn) in damage.

The explosion left at least 158 people dead, 5,000 injured and 300,000 homeless.

On Saturday several thousand people took to the streets, with police firing tear gas at stone-throwing protesters and some demonstrators storming government ministries.

In a televised address, Lebanese PM Hassan Diab said he would ask for early elections as a way out of the crisis. The issue will be discussed in cabinet on Monday.

Lebanon was already mired in a deep economic crisis and struggling to tackle the coronavirus pandemic before the explosion tore through Beirut.

An anti-government protest movement erupted last October, fuelled by the financial situation and a collapsing currency.