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. Althea

    I'll bet Hussein Obama doesn't do nearly as good in the next debate. He won't have Candy Crowley protecting his ignorant behind.

    October 19, 2012 at 10:39 am | Report abuse |
  2. larry5

    This is the kind of thing that happens when Muslims get anywhere near humans. Obama's support of Muslims, especially radical Muslims like Morsy is proof positive that Obama does not have a clue about foreign policy or anything else about the business of being President. Have you ever asked yourself which side is Obama on.

    October 19, 2012 at 10:40 am | Report abuse |
  3. Really

    Looks like Israel finally took revenge for the drone intrusion from Lebanon.

    October 19, 2012 at 11:25 am | Report abuse |
  4. Phoenix

    What a shame! Don't judge the middle east or Lebanon, you never been there. Enjoy your white fences. And don't point fingers. Beirut is not what Homeland is portraying or what the media is showing. Show some compassion for the victims and their families. Religion or politics... blood has been shed.

    October 19, 2012 at 11:29 am | Report abuse |
    • J Clark

      Lebanon is ran by a democratically elected terrorist group – Hezbollah. That their citizens would vote these people into office says a lot about their country. They also allow militant terrorist to routinely launch rockets and mortars into Israel. Lebanon and its people are not as peace loving as many on this site would have you believe.

      October 19, 2012 at 11:46 am | Report abuse |
  5. Lebanese and Proud

    you don't know what Lebanon is , or anything about the Lebanese ppl. not all decent ppl are able to leave. if they are still there it doesnt mean they should be murdered in such a barbaric way. you ppl know nothing about how it is to live an unstable life, not knowing when some barbaric terrorist decides to end your life.

    October 19, 2012 at 11:33 am | Report abuse |
    • Chris

      You are right, many americans do not understand what it is like to live an unstable life...yet. With the trajectory of your spending and our weak leader, we are about to find out. We are a spoiled people. We are good hearted,but have no clue what real poverty is..and this is coming from someone who grew up very, very poor. We still had a trailer over our heads and the ability at the end of the month to make an onion sandwich. YOu don't see the masses starving. But unless we pull our head out, we will. I will pray for your people.

      October 19, 2012 at 12:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • Lebanese and Proud

      Thank u Chris, I couldn't of said it any better 🙂

      October 19, 2012 at 2:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jeff

      I still eat bread sandwiches sometimes. They are pretty good. It's two slices of bread mashed together.

      October 19, 2012 at 4:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • Robert

      I agree! Well said.

      October 19, 2012 at 2:12 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Louise

    I was lucky enough to live in the Middle East for 4 years and to spend some time in Beirut/ Lebanon. It is one of the most beautiful countries on earth, and the people are incredibly warm and wonderful. This is not a country of Muslim fundamentalists. In fact 41% of the population are Christian. Hezbulla understandably have strife at the southern borders with Israel over resources. They are simply trying to protect their people/ land/ water in the only way they know how, and meet with similar 'negotiations' from the other side. My heart is with the Lebanese people and I hope they can enjoy a peaceful future which they so deserve.

    October 19, 2012 at 11:49 am | Report abuse |
    • J Clark

      What about the almost daily rocket and mortar attacks from Lebanon into Israeli civilian populations?

      October 19, 2012 at 11:56 am | Report abuse |
    • Wael

      Hey j clark, why don't you show me some proof of these "daily" attacks?
      Don't worry, I'll wait.

      October 19, 2012 at 12:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • Khalid

      THANK YOU Louise !

      October 19, 2012 at 12:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • Guest

      Louisse writes a rational, thoughtful, nonbiased comment based on wit and experience. Then J Clark who probably watches foxnews 24/7 makes a comment based on..... you know what, I give up!

      October 19, 2012 at 1:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • saywhat

      American meddling is at the root of middle east dischord. The Islamic religion is peaceful and tolerant, but the American war machine has divided neighbors and propelled violence upon a great civilization. Hezbollah is defending the interests of shiite by protecting the stockpiling of katushya rockets needed for defense against America's puppet warmongering partner in crime. Hezbollah had to slay Wissam al Hassan because he was trying to disrupt Iran's influence in the Lebanese shiite population.

      October 19, 2012 at 1:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sakiko Contreras

      Well, I am a Fox News watcher (75%) and have had the pleasure of living in Lebanon for two years. I fully agree with everything that Louise presented above.

      October 19, 2012 at 1:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • Eric of Reseda, CA

      Islam is not a peaceful religion anymore than Christianity is. Iran-Iraq War, 1 million dead. Musliims were conducting pogroms and murdering Jews living peacefully in Palestine decades before the State of Israel was born or the U.S. had any involvement over there. Sunni's have been murdering Shia and Shia have been murdering Sunni by the thousands. While I also believe the U.S needs to get out of there, this notion of the Palestinian or Muslim as victim of the West is nonsense. The Grand Mufti of Palestine was a devoted ally of Hitler and Nazi Germany. Large segments of the Lebonese have allied themselves with the Syrian government. The Irananian government carries out murderous policies against their citiznes in an effort to firmly oppress. Etc. I too feel for the Lebanese people. But Islamic countries in the Middle East are EVERY bit as responsible for their lot in life as is American involvement, and really, far more. Blaming America for all the worlds ills is childish. The US has misplayed it's role a any number of times. But the FACT is, so have any number of local players over there as well.

      October 19, 2012 at 2:07 pm | Report abuse |
  7. J Clark

    It's funny how Obama refuses to meet wit the leader of our closest ally in the Middle East (Israel) but bows to Muslim terrorist.

    October 19, 2012 at 11:58 am | Report abuse |
    • Stan the Man

      What a load of crap, you are a Fox News parrot, and a troll.

      October 19, 2012 at 12:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • Blah blah the wheel's off your trailer

      President Obama has met with Prime Minister Netenyahu more than half a dozen times in four years and more than any other foreign world leader and when they're not meeting in person, they're on the phone constantly.

      October 19, 2012 at 12:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bama Man

      Obama was raised by Muslimms and spent many of his formative years in Muslim countries. Of course he is going to be anti Israel and slightly anti American.

      October 19, 2012 at 1:10 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Hide Behind

    It is easy to begin wars but once created they do not always follow the wills of those that created them.
    Not so long ago Lebanon was the major country that pointed to the lie that Only Israel could prosper in the middle east.
    It was a very large financial centrr that acted as a conduit for the oil rich nation familys of the area with the investors of Europe and even central asia Turkey. and a large part of africas muslim countrys not directly under full eurocentric sway.. Its universitys were attended by the elites children of many nations and was beginning to fival all of the europeans tourist destinations.
    Under the UN Lebanon accepted hundreds of thousands of Palestinian refugees frm European sponsored invasion of. their lands in what we now know as Israel.
    These people could become citizens by a prcess not unlike a US ( legal) immigrant goes through.
    It not Israel was the garden of ME
    If anything its leaders were a modern secularist governing group with a large christian Islamic and Even Greek Orthodox religious people living side by side in relative harmony.
    If left to its own devices it would today make Israel proper look like a slum but that was not to be
    Instead US led and driven anti commie cold war and its Nato allies decided to lets make Lebanon our own bastion of freedom and using Israel as a pretext and plight of paleztinians euro centricsbegan to fund and divide and conqure using the chaos of a civil war they created.
    A lot of the pressure was by US financial. combined with European and British to make middle eastern investment go directly through their hands. It worked and for those who do not know Syria was asked by Lebanon and supported by internationals to help end chaos.
    Lebanon became model of howUS under Carter Doctrine tried to hold, nergy routesadd in Irans revolt and The GOP GOD RONNIE and as usual the people of Lebanon became no more thancollateral damage to yes eurocentrics allied with Israel.

    October 19, 2012 at 12:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • Philip

      ^^^ troll la la ^^^

      October 19, 2012 at 12:29 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Jeff

    Their government is Hamas, not Hezbollah. Still a terrorist organization though.

    October 19, 2012 at 12:23 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Hide Behind

    Excuse me for "intervening" in Lebanons affairs @ lebonese and proud but as I do hsve friends from there abd actually on othersideof family once had relatives there.
    After what jingo and dogma loving US call 911 I sawwhat dumb as rocks did to my friends familys and it was shamefull.
    Friends some were christian and othets Islamics sent yheir wives and children back home for their safety and infear of IS roundup of thousands that even today no one questions(here in US) what happened too them.
    Anasdociate sent his child to Lebanon because of its medival and health care system along with its thensocial programs in ways far superior to US.
    zehile relativel wealthy in Lebanon the owners and those who had came up through US corporate firms there found their old wages far below the middle class stature they had back home in Lebanon.
    While my foxhole I keep it shallow so as totry and have a 360 degree view, is biased as a us view I am not dumb as a rock.

    October 19, 2012 at 12:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • Philip

      You are not Hide Behind. You are a troll.

      October 19, 2012 at 12:42 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Philip

    To be fair, not every citizen of Lebanon are crazed terrorist. They are Lebanese though.

    October 19, 2012 at 12:44 pm | Report abuse |
  12. lesterg

    Its lovely what moslems can do to one another. Actually, its scary, especially when we know there are radicals all around the world just waiting to die for their religion and to take lots of people with them.

    October 19, 2012 at 12:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • saywhat

      In our religion, there is a special place in the hereafter for those who participate in jihad.

      October 19, 2012 at 2:42 pm | Report abuse |
  13. caesarbc

    Muslims know how to only spread hate... Chiristians know only love.

    October 19, 2012 at 12:54 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Stan the Man

    This is the work of Syrian Intel and Hezbollah.

    October 19, 2012 at 12:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • Philip

      and Obama

      October 19, 2012 at 12:59 pm | Report abuse |
  15. reality check

    muslims vs. christians. the carnage will never end.

    October 19, 2012 at 12:55 pm | Report abuse |
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