I spent my earliest years in Beirut before my family returned to the UK, and when I was at school here in the 1980s, the phrase “it’s like Beirut” was bandied around.
The Lebanese capital, once called the Paris of the Middle East, became synonymous with a brutal civil war, the kidnapping of Terry Waite and bullet-scarred buildings.
He is widely expected to announce the formal resignation of the cabinet but his confirmation became increasingly unnecessary as a string of ministers pre-empted him by saying they were quitting.
During the course of the day, Ghazi Wazni, the finance minister, followed Marie-Claude Najm, the justice minister, in submitting their resignations to Mr Diab. They followed the environment and information ministers, who quit yesterday, with Nassif Hitti, the foreign minister, having left the cabinet shortly before the blast on Tuesday for separate reasons.
Online newspaper El Confidencial said the former head of state was in Portugal, where he spent part of his youth, at the town of Azeitao, 18 miles south of the capital Lisbon.
He was ‘staying with the Brito e Cunha-Espirito Santo family that he has maintained friendly relations with’ since his own family’s exile during the Franco dictatorship.
Mr Trump said someone has been taken to the hospital.
“It seems the person was shot by Secret Service,” he said. “It was one person.”
Several European countries are experiencing a sharp increase in infections after easing strict lockdowns. In most, numbers remains significantly lower than during March and April, but Greece recorded 203 infections tests on Sunday, its highest figure since the start of the pandemic.
Gkikas Magiorkinis, an assistant professor of hygiene and epidemiology at Athens University and one of the country’s top infectious disease experts, said Greece had reached a critical juncture in its ability to contain the further spread of the virus.