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Bride in Beirut wedding photo shoot speaks about explosion

Published: Aug. 6, 2020 at 3:35 PM EDT
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BEIRUT (CNN) - A glowing, smiling bride was in the middle of her wedding photo shoot when suddenly the force of a massive explosion knocked her over.

Video captured the special moment turning into chaos, as the bride can later be seen being whisked away into a building.

Dr. Israa Seblani posed for photos a short walk from the luxury wedding venue in downtown Beirut. As Seblani smiles and looks down at her bouquet, horror strikes.

The couple and the video crew run for cover, destruction all around them.

“At that moment, one thing I think about: Now, I’m losing my life,” Seblani said. “I’m losing my husband. I’m going to be buried under a building. Now, I am going to die. Now, I am waiting for that moment, how am I going to die? Is it going to be fast, am I going to feel it, am I going to be near him?”

The original plan was to have the wedding party in the U.S., but husband Ahmad Sbeih says he has been waiting for his visa for three years. With immigration laws getting stricter under the Trump administration, the couple says they didn't want to be apart any longer.

They finally settled on celebrating their marriage in Beirut with friends and family, in the city where their love first blossomed.

"That beautiful place I was in, and where people were dining in restaurants, shopping, walking, it turned into a ghost town, filled with dust shuttered glasses, people yelling, bleeding," Seblani said. "It was a nightmare."

Seblani recorded an earlier view of the bridal suite where she and Sbeih planned to spend the night after the party, "oohing" and "ahhing" over the flourishes.

When the couple returned, the red rose petals thrown off the bed were all that remained of the romance they had envisioned.

Ahmad Sbeih: "Of course, we are alive and can continue," Sbeih said. "And don't be sad or anything. We will continue, we will pass it and we will make it, Inshallah."

In a city where life was turned upside down in seconds, Seblani and Sbeih are grateful to be alive.

"There is no word to describe really what I feel, no matter how I talk," she said.

Copyright 2020 CNN. AFP contributed to the report. All rights reserved.

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