October 19th, 2012
12:25 PM ET

Car bomb strikes Beirut

Editor's note: A car bomb exploded in the heart of Beirut, the capital of Lebanon, the country's National News Agency (NNA) reported. Below is our live blog of how we learned the news as it came in and here is the full story from Lebanon. Are you in Beirut? Share your photos and video with iReport. Follow this story in Arabic on CNNArabic.com.

[Updated at 12:25 p.m.] A Lebanese political source who did not want to be named told CNN that it had been 99% confirmed that Wissam al Hassan, the chief of the information branch of Lebanon’s internal security service, was killed in the blast. "There is an unrecognizable body found, and they have found his personal belongings at the scene," the source said.

[Updated at 10:49 a.m.] Syria - which borders Lebanon - condemned Friday's deadly car bombing in Beirut,  the state-run news agency reported. Syrian Information Minister Omran al-Zoubi called it a "coward terrorist attack."

[Updated at 9:59 a.m.] CNN's Mohammed Jamjoom said the popular, predominantly Christian neighborhood struck by the blast was "the last place nowadays you would expect this kind of violence." 

Injured people were still being treated at Sassine Square and put into ambulances more than an hour after the explosion, he said.

And what looked like forensic investigators were there, going into the damaged buildings.

[Updated at 9:20 a.m.] The Lebanese NNA now says eight people were killed and 78 injured in the explosion.

 

[Updated at 9:11 a.m.] More than 30 people were hurt in the explosion and are being treated in the ER of the Hotel Dieu hospital, a senior hospital official told CNN's Nada Husseini. 

Some are seriously injured, others were slightly hurt, the official said in a phone call, adding no dead victims had been brought in.

[Updated at 8:55 a.m.] At least five people were injured, three of them seriously, NNA says. 

The blast hit the Ashrafiyeh district in East Beirut, a predominantly Christian area.

The force of the explosion shook windows in CNN's offices, about 10 minutes away from the scene.

[Updated at 8:48 a.m.] At least one car was engulfed in flames and blackened wreckage litters the street.

The apparent attack did not target any political figure and the security forces asked citizens to stay away from the area, Lebanon's state news agency NNA says.

[Updated at 8:43 a.m.]  Video from the scene is showing people carrying victims to ambulances, and rows of mangled cars and charred buildings. 

Military and emergency personnel are there amid shocked crowds.

[Updated at 8:32 a.m.] It was a car bomb that caused the blast, according to Lebanese state news agency NNA.

CNN's Nick Paton Walsh says there is "chaos" in central Beirut. He says several people appear wounded from the large blast.

[Posted at 8:11 a.m.] A large explosion is being reported in central Beirut, the capital of Lebanon.

CNN's Nick Paton Walsh says black smoke can be seen rising from the site of the blast.

There's no indication yet on what caused the explosion. We'll bring you more details as we get them.

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Filed under: Lebanon
soundoff (140 Responses)
  1. Bob

    Why Cares....Its their own Kind Killing Each Other...I have no Compassion for these people

    October 19, 2012 at 10:03 am | Report abuse |
  2. americanstudent

    political correctness is stupid.....they are all arabs to me.....i had a korean guy get ticked when i called him chinese....."do i look chinese to you".....my answer " yes you do"

    October 19, 2012 at 10:03 am | Report abuse |
    • acde

      technically you are right, they consider themselves part of the "arab world" which consists of most of the middle east

      October 19, 2012 at 10:21 am | Report abuse |
    • Sinfully Yours

      americanstudent, you are way to politically correct in your post. The correct term is:
      If it has a towel on its head its called a target.

      October 19, 2012 at 10:23 am | Report abuse |
  3. Lem

    We have to stop blaming Islam.

    Blame the Muslim countries that have stupendously low literacy rate. The people don't know what they are doing, they are being brainwashed since they can't read or write.

    The literacy rate in Pakistan is only 56%, meaning that 44% of the people can't read or write. It's probably those people who are recruited by the Muslim extremists to do all this ridiculous bombings, claiming it's for the good of God.

    October 19, 2012 at 10:04 am | Report abuse |
    • Bob

      Why arethey your Relatives...If so go back...

      October 19, 2012 at 10:05 am | Report abuse |
  4. Sol

    Hey......was the a result of that famous OBAMA-Biden video?

    October 19, 2012 at 10:04 am | Report abuse |
  5. Dino

    Violence and blowing each other up. It's such a hobby in the middle east. They must wake up in the morning, eat their Krunchy Bullet Bitz cereal and read instructions on the back of the box on how to build their very own IED.

    October 19, 2012 at 10:06 am | Report abuse |
  6. War General

    Christian area. Seems like the Muslims are running out of Muslims to kill. Beirut is the next battleground.

    October 19, 2012 at 10:07 am | Report abuse |
  7. RRR

    The Arab spring is getting better and better. Alright, good work Obama!

    October 19, 2012 at 10:07 am | Report abuse |
  8. Sol

    Let me guess? This was Bush's fault! Along with the video and his poor debate performance, unemployment, AIDS, world hunger. the deficit....lack of diplomatic security........

    October 19, 2012 at 10:08 am | Report abuse |
  9. mikey

    Just another day in Muslim paradise.

    October 19, 2012 at 10:09 am | Report abuse |
    • Lebanese and Proud

      this was in a Christian city, it's innocent children and women. civilians, going their own way minding their own business, coming and going to work, trying to make a living, trying to just get thru. this is so unhumane and barbaric. how could you ppl make light of it?

      October 19, 2012 at 11:24 am | Report abuse |
  10. Kerry

    This may be a surprise for the people in Beirut but I don't think it is the last place anyone else would expect it. It is still the Middle East and there are still religious fanatics all over the place. They want attention and it doesn't matter who they hurt doing it. The people of that country may want peace but too many terrorist don't. It can happen anywhere.

    October 19, 2012 at 10:10 am | Report abuse |
  11. Quanshay

    Lebanon has always been a mess. It isn't the United States or anyone else's fault. I wish Isreal would wipe them, the Palestine, and the West Bank off the face of the earth.

    Maybe if the Muslim sympathizer Obama gets voted out Israel will be able to get tough with these people.

    October 19, 2012 at 10:13 am | Report abuse |
    • Christian Lebanese

      You should be ashamed of yourself. What is Israel to come wipe us out? and who are you to talk like that? You have no right. Would like someone to talk like that and say that your country will be wiped out? It's just a bomb.. need I remind you of September 11? Lebanon has been on a comeback ever since the war in 2006 were it proved that it was much stronger than Israel and Israel has no chance in defeating it. One bomb does not change it. Long live Lebanon.

      October 19, 2012 at 11:01 am | Report abuse |
    • Christian Lebanese

      And by the way... Lebanon is full of Christians. Obama, the 'muslim sympathizer'.. pshh. What an unfair stereotype to look at us the way you do. What about the Christians?

      October 19, 2012 at 11:04 am | Report abuse |
    • Petey

      @Christian Lebanonese- how about some preparation h for that but hurt of yours?

      October 19, 2012 at 11:07 am | Report abuse |
    • Lebanese and Proud

      How could you make light of such situation? Innocent Christian ppl dying in a very barbaric and unhumane way,

      October 19, 2012 at 11:27 am | Report abuse |
    • Phoenix

      Wipe them out! If you are ok with mass murders, you are not much different from any terrorist. I am a proud Christian Lebanese and Quanshay you are not worth my anger because you have no clue what you are talking about.

      October 19, 2012 at 11:45 am | Report abuse |
  12. Jungg

    An obvious sectarian attack. Where's the vocal outrage from the Muslim community? Oh, that's right, there is none.

    October 19, 2012 at 10:15 am | Report abuse |
  13. Tom D.

    I would say that this is violence from the Syrian civil war slipping over the border into Lebanon. Since they ended their own very long (1976-90) civil war the Lebaonese have worked are to restore their country and they have been very stable since. Sure they still have problems with terrorist groups in the south, but, the Lebonese army has been working to stop them. I don't understand how anyone commenting here without any facts. I hope that the people responsible for this are caught and that those injured recover and the families of those who died find comfort. The only thing I would hope the U.S Government does is provide whatever support the Lebonese government needs to investigate this act of terrorism.

    October 19, 2012 at 10:23 am | Report abuse |
  14. Quilan

    Just hours after the Lebanese voice their upset regarding the depiction of Beirut in the series "homeland" saying that
    “Beirut is one of the most secure capitals in the world, more secure than London or New York."

    The irony is staggering.

    October 19, 2012 at 10:24 am | Report abuse |
  15. Stupid Ignorance

    Pity how Israel hire their musad to write comments on every site, and then ignorant people reply with their stupidity just like sheep.

    October 19, 2012 at 10:31 am | Report abuse |
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