State of Palestine: Khan Younis organises blood donation for Beirut blast victims

Dozens of donors participated in a blood donation campaign in Khan Younis on Wednesday, aimed at assisting victims of the massive explosions that left thousands injured and at least 100 dead in Beirut the day prior. In cooperation with the Palestinian Red Crescent, the municipality hoped to collect donations that can make their way to Lebanon despite border restrictions stemming from the country's longstanding conflict with Israel. «We are launching a blood donation campaign that responds to the call of the Lebanese Minister of Health, who appealed to everyone yesterday to donate blood and we say that this is everyone's effort,» said Alaa Al-Batta, the mayor of Khan Younis. Organisers emphasised Palestine's cultural ties with Lebanon, which is home to over 470,000 Palestinian refugees. «We send condolences to the families of the martyrs and we pray to God to heal the wounded in Lebanon, because the wounded of Lebanon are the Palestinian wounded, and they are our wounds. God willing, Beirut will recover from this great catastrophe and Beirut will return as the capital of Lebanese and Arab culture,» said Ahmed Al-Astal, a doctor and organiser of the effort. The blasts are thought to have been caused by the still unexplained ignition of 2,750 tonnes of ammonium nitrate, a highly explosive chemical material which was reportedly stored without precautionary measures at the port, according to Lebanese Prime Minister Hassan Diab. Results of an investigation into the causes of the explosions are expected to be released in the next five days.

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