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. JD

    "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"

    If its anywhere in the middle east, I would completely expect this kind of violence.

    October 19, 2012 at 12:59 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Lebanese and Proud

    Lebanese supporters don't worry about these ignorant folks writing disgraceful comments about how "the whole area should have been wiped out by Israel a long time ago" or how "who cares about them as long as we're not getting bombed". I'm not sure most of these people don't even know where Lebanon is, let alone its history, culture, beauty, etc. Most of our people have graduate level education, speak 3 or more languages, are hard working peace-loving people who just want to work hard by day and party by night. It's not the Americans' fault we don't expose them to that side of our culture. All they see on the news is related to extremist terrorist events that have absolutely no representation of 99% of our people and how they want to live. That's OK. Let them believe only what they see on the news. What you don't know is that we come to your country and take advantage of the opportunities we get in the US, unlike many of you. Why? Because we are smart, harder working, and more dedicated and motivated. When you grow up in an unstable environment, it makes you a go-getter. Why do think we are all successful business owners in your country? Think about that for a minute.

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


      October 19, 2012 at 1:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • Lebanese and Proud

      @Brama Man, thank you for proving my point, LOL

      October 19, 2012 at 1:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • Joel Wienberger

      You sound anti Semitic.

      October 19, 2012 at 1:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • Lebanese and Proud

      @Joel, is that what you gathered from my post? Interesting.

      October 19, 2012 at 1:53 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Philip

    This is just another example of Obama's f ailed f oreign p olicies.

    October 19, 2012 at 1:04 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Bama Man

    I feel bad for them but they are foreigners. And from the Middle East. Who knows what bad things they were up to?

    October 19, 2012 at 1:07 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Real Lebanese

    I too am from Lebanon. I leave because it very smelly place. Many peoples. Not many restrooms. Very smelly.

    October 19, 2012 at 1:19 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Mark

    It's time to demand that Obama cut off all ties with Israel and their terrorist government. They have for far too long waged a war of terror all throughout the world. Obama has been in bed with Israel from day 1. The US and Israel have launched joint operations in Iran and the Arab world which has resulted in the deaths of many civilians. This type of thugary should never be tolerated. We might as well have kept Bush in power if we wanted to wholeheartedly back Israel.

    October 19, 2012 at 1:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • Joel Wienberger

      You sound like a racist and hater. Are you a Muslim sympathizer like your beloved Obamo?

      October 19, 2012 at 1:33 pm | Report abuse |
  7. musings

    Who would have wanted to kill the chief of Lebanese security?

    October 19, 2012 at 1:46 pm | Report abuse |
  8. tv22

    If the Security Minister was hit, this was an assassination, not a random terrorist attack.

    October 19, 2012 at 1:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tim

      Nope. It was a spontaneous protest about a video on YouTube. Just ask Obama of Hillary.

      October 19, 2012 at 2:04 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Joel Wienberger

    When I was a young man we would take field trips into Lebanon to see what real terrorist look like.

    October 19, 2012 at 1:50 pm | Report abuse |
  10. allen

    Call me crazy, but I would think the exact opposite here-

    "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."

    October 19, 2012 at 1:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • ym

      I'm from Lebanon. The Christian areas are the safest areas in Lebanon. During the war, they were touched much less than the rest. They're much more European looking with cafes, bars, night clubs, boutique clothing stores.

      October 19, 2012 at 9:46 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Joel Wienberger

    I hope it was payback for their little drone invasion.

    October 19, 2012 at 1:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • Abraham


      October 19, 2012 at 3:32 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Tim

    Israel is our ally. Lebanon is not.

    Supporting Lebanon's continuous attacks on the people of Israel is wrong.

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


    October 19, 2012 at 3:50 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Keyser soze

    Lebanon got destroyed when the Palestinians got expelled from Jordan after the black September and settled there. Then came Hezbollah and all the human garbage they represent. Poor Lebanon.

    October 19, 2012 at 5:40 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Lebanese and Proud

    U have no idea what ur talking abt J Clark, so ignorant it is really sad. I won't even waste my time or energy on such ignorance.

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