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. Sam

    Was it a Mazda

    October 19, 2012 at 8:55 am | Report abuse |
    • Khalid

      NO, a Peugeot 207

      October 19, 2012 at 12:53 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Traykneesha

    For more info on this tragic event, please click on my name.

    October 19, 2012 at 9:09 am | Report abuse |
  3. zaphed

    it is a peugot, Americans have no culture when it comes to cars. They are barely introduced to fiats now. Stay tuned for decisions coming from the first country in the world manipulated by the chosen and inhabited by the fat and obese half brains. Too bad, Lebanon will never be stable again. I miss beirut my lovely city.

    October 19, 2012 at 9:16 am | Report abuse |
    • Jeff

      You're funny. Americans created the culture of automobiles.

      October 19, 2012 at 9:45 am | Report abuse |
  4. Elias

    Everything is a joke for you people. This explosion is in the Christian district of Beirut, and in a residential area. Not a good thing for anyone during the turmoil in the middle east. No one deserves this, let alone innocent civilians for absolutely no reason

    October 19, 2012 at 9:19 am | Report abuse |
  5. Ron

    Can you say Hezzzzbolla!!

    October 19, 2012 at 9:20 am | Report abuse |
  6. someone

    hezbollah in response : Bazinga!

    October 19, 2012 at 9:29 am | Report abuse |
  7. Ali Ibn Khallali

    islam is a religion of peace and love. 99 percent exceptions make a bad name to all the rest of us.

    October 19, 2012 at 9:30 am | Report abuse |
    • Christian

      hahah exactly dude.

      October 19, 2012 at 9:51 am | Report abuse |
  8. Awareness

    Source never wields vengeance or offers punishment, for Source understands you are valuable; you are worthy; you are blessed. Source understands that you never get it done and you cannot get it wrong, and that even when you stand in a place that currently feels wrong, ultimately you will return to what feels right. You can return now to what feels right with an adjustment of your thought process and an adjustment of your vibration and a changing of your point of attraction and a finally letting in of the Well-Being that is flowing to you always. - Abraham 🙂 Excerpted from the workshop in North Los Angeles, CA on Saturday, March 6th, 2004

    October 19, 2012 at 9:30 am | Report abuse |
  9. Garamasala13

    Isareal up to no good again

    October 19, 2012 at 9:33 am | Report abuse |
    • Leo

      Garamasala13 is spewing his idiotic nonsense again.

      October 19, 2012 at 9:43 am | Report abuse |
    • Jeremy

      Yeah..because Israel sets car bombs off in christian neighborhoods?? I guess you have no grasp of Middle East History, do you?

      October 19, 2012 at 9:47 am | Report abuse |
    • Stupid Ignorance

      The Jews killed the Christ, killed the palestinians, killed the christians, killed their own people who are against their zionist policy, and don't forget they bombed lebanon and invaded lebanon so many times killing hundred of thousands of innocent civilians..

      October 19, 2012 at 10:02 am | Report abuse |
  10. Tom Sender

    Nice to see someone is following this.
    24 hours haven't gone by since the Lebanese minister of tourism said Beirut is "safer than New York or London"

    fat chance they'll film in Beirut now.

    October 19, 2012 at 9:41 am | Report abuse |
  11. Jeff

    You need to understand that people have no respect for the culture(s) that are the middle east. They kill whomever they please and believe that no one except Muslims have a right to exist. Even then they kill each other depending upon which "sect" of Islam they follow. Who cares about making funny jokes about these kinds of people? I don't care.

    October 19, 2012 at 9:43 am | Report abuse |
  12. WatrGrrl

    So, is the BOZO from Kenya in our White House going to say that this was another example of workplace violence in Beirut, caused by George Bush's policies 2002 through 2008? Or, maybe blame it on a NEW video that no one has seen yet? Or maybe he'll trot out ambASSador Susan Rice to wring her hands and soulfully state, with unshed tears in her eyes, that this incident (another demonstration of how PEACEFUL Islam is) was the result of an accidental ignition of munitions being transferred from one peaceful Muslim arms depot to ANOTHER peaceful Muslim arms depot.

    October 19, 2012 at 9:43 am | Report abuse |
    • Jeremy

      How exactly should the U.S respond when the attack from what everyone knows about was not targeted at U.S forces, diplomats, personnel, etc in Lebanon? Your ramble makes absolutely no logical sense.

      October 19, 2012 at 9:48 am | Report abuse |
    • Stupid Ignorance

      @watrgrrl Yes Islam is a peaceful religion, you believe it or not.. And why you're talking about Islam? Stepping over the investigations.. Maybe it's a christian who inserted the bomb? But you're so stupid to recognize, I bet you don't know why you live..

      October 19, 2012 at 10:06 am | Report abuse |
  13. Frank Garrett

    Let's hear it for the religion of peace!!!

    October 19, 2012 at 9:44 am | Report abuse |
    • Crapola

      THis is the beginning of what will befall Lebanon. They left the devil enter their country and will pay dearly for it. Israel will soon take care of most of it. But at least 1/2 their country will be gone.

      October 19, 2012 at 9:59 am | Report abuse |
  14. Phil

    So, remember yesterday when the Lebanese government was threatening legal action against the producers of Homeland for its depiction of Beirut...

    October 19, 2012 at 9:46 am | Report abuse |
  15. Jeff

    The middle east will never see peace. It is full of "suck people", a term that my wife uses for worthless humans.

    October 19, 2012 at 9:47 am | Report abuse |
    • MV

      Why don't you learn some history instead of judging? The Middle East is the way it is because of US and European meddling since the inception of nation-states.

      October 19, 2012 at 9:52 am | Report abuse |
    • Crapola

      The ME is the way it is because of that infernal religion of pure hatred and death.

      October 19, 2012 at 9:56 am | Report abuse |
    • Phil

      MV, you're saying it was much better during the Ottoman Empire? Or under Saladin? Or during the Crusades? Or during the rule of Alexander the Great?

      October 19, 2012 at 9:57 am | Report abuse |
    • Frank

      No nation that practices ISLAM has ever lived in peace in the history of MANKIND! And our government is importing this horrible ideology from he11 to the U.S. and protecting it under the guise of a religion! How do you think that's going to turn out?

      October 19, 2012 at 10:00 am | Report abuse |
    • mk2aw

      Right MV, its because of the US and Europe LOL! wow, talk about delusion. The firs thing Muhammad did when he left the cave was behead all the merchants, take their money and launch a holy war on europe...please read a history book bud!

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

      i wish i could like Phil's post

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

      MV, don't reply to the people who commented you, they're a bunch of drunk rednecks and ignorant people who know nothing about civilization and religions.. the hate that is dominating their thought is what brought them to the conclusion that muslims who did this explosion and that.. Ask them about their hate in WW1 and WW2, and the discrimination against Jews and other minorities in Europe centuries before ww1 that led the majority of the Jews to come and live in the Muslim countries where they found peace and tolerance.. Those drunk rednecks will not change their mind, so leave them blind..

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

      MV, perhaps you should read up on the history of radical extremism. It has no root in the meddling of the US or Europe, but is founded on the notion that any person who does not worship the Prophet is thereby an enemy to be destroyed. The mullahs brought the US into the picture as a convenient scapegoat.

      And I say this not as someone with blinders on. I recognize the faults and shortcomings of US policy in the region, but the fact is our policies have never driven this type of violence, which in this case was sectarian, to boot.

      October 19, 2012 at 10:15 am | Report abuse |
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