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. americanstudent

    more arabs blowing each other up......how is this breaking news again?

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

      Really americanstudent, before writing such statement maybe a little of geography would be nice.
      Not all middle eastern are Arabs, apparently you don't know nothing about Lebanon and specifically the area where the bomb blasted. This is a christian are, and not only arabs live in this area .

      October 19, 2012 at 10:02 am | Report abuse |
    • Jimmyjimmypop

      you people should do some homework, Arab is the race. it's geo-decriptive word for people from the middle east.
      Christian Arabs
      Muslim Arabs
      Jewish Arabs

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

    Too bad it didn't take out more. I think instead of sending aid and food to these countries we should just send them full bags of dog crap.

    October 19, 2012 at 9:48 am | Report abuse |
    • Abdo Berro

      How does someone reply to such filth and hate.....have some decency and respect for the dead and their families.....for the innocent children......shame on you....

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

      Note – I'm agreeing with CaesarXIII.

      Good Post.

      October 19, 2012 at 9:58 am | Report abuse |
    • anonymous

      you realize those were "their" thoughts exactly during 9/11... just to put your ignorance in perspective
      (on another note, the victims of this explosion were not the same group that plotted 9/11... in fact, they are Christians, not even muslims.)

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

    Maybe it was the VIDEO again?

    October 19, 2012 at 9:48 am | Report abuse |
  4. watchful eyes

    two possibilities either this was a Mossad operation to stir something up or the FSA(Free Syrian Army) made good on their word of attacking Hezbollah in Lebanon for directly supporting the Syrian Army of Bashar Assad. expect things to heat up either way.

    October 19, 2012 at 9:51 am | Report abuse |
    • Stan the Man

      Wow, you are probably the worst wannabe analyst. Why would FSA or Mossad want to kill the very person who was running a vigorous campaign against Assad and Syria?

      October 19, 2012 at 12:57 pm | Report abuse |
  5. chris

    Please tell me more about how peaceful islam is

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

      Politics and a power struggle to rule one over the other is what's at stake here.

      What the hell does religion have to do with it? A religion by itself is not harmful and Islam is NOT. It however is a tool for manipulators to use to encourage people to do things they would never. This has been done with every religion.

      October 19, 2012 at 10:06 am | Report abuse |
    • saywhat

      And whosoever puts his trust in Allaah, then He will suffice him [al-Talaaq 65:3]. There will be immaculate peace when the infidels are vanquished, children submit to adults, women submit to men, and men submit to Allah.

      October 19, 2012 at 2:35 pm | Report abuse |
  6. GT66

    So how are we winning the "war on terror?" Seems like we're winning this one the same way we're winning the war on drugs.

    October 19, 2012 at 9:53 am | Report abuse |
  7. Quanshay

    At least they are doing this in their own country instead of the U.S. or Israel.

    October 19, 2012 at 9:54 am | Report abuse |
  8. cocopuf

    The people responsible for theses kinds of atrocities should not serve any jail time but immediately executed.

    October 19, 2012 at 9:54 am | Report abuse |

    breaking news another day in the middle east...

    October 19, 2012 at 9:55 am | Report abuse |
  10. Frank

    When will the world BAN ISLAM? Are we just going to read about the daily mass murder and genocide of non Muslims every single day like we have now, year after year after year!? Whats is going to take to label this cult of HORROR what it really is? The ideology from HE11!


    October 19, 2012 at 9:55 am | Report abuse |
  11. Lindy500

    Have they blamed Israel yet?

    October 19, 2012 at 9:59 am | Report abuse |
  12. garypaul54

    There is no solution to the problems in the middle east, these people have been fighting and killing each other for a 1000 years or more. You will not change them, a lot of these things are tribial or politics that we don't understand and never will, just like they don't understand us. America needs to get out of the middle east and stay out.

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

      Actually its pretty easy to understand if you studied history and the region, knowing the players in the game and the differences.

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

    the comment that it because of US and European meddling is right..we should have left them in the 15th century at the height of Islamic influence..no electricity no transportation, primitive agriculture..just bunch of goat herders and tribal bandits sitting on top of trillions of dollars of natural resources beating and stoning their wives..we should have left them alone

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

      If they were left alone, they might have peace actually!

      October 19, 2012 at 11:55 am | Report abuse |
  14. clarinet

    Peace continues to break out all over the middle east. Drill here drill now.

    October 19, 2012 at 10:01 am | Report abuse |
  15. Dorkus Maximus

    How long before Mitt Romney puts out an ad blaming this on Obama's foreign policy?

    October 19, 2012 at 10:01 am | Report abuse |
    • Sol

      Oh....the apology tour.....Obama's current foreign policy......and his hatred of American Exceptionalism has nothing to do with weakening our position around the world? Gee......your a really smart guy.

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