BEIRUT: A huge blast rocked central Beirut on Friday, sending plumes of black smoke scudding across the skyline of the Lebanese capital, an AFP correspondent said.
Television channels showed pictures of thick smoke near the Serail, where Lebanon's prime minister has his offices, and a major commercial district home to shops, banks, restaurants.
Footage broadcast by Future TV showed people on fire, others lying on the ground, some bloodied, as well as fires blazing at several other points while ambulances rushed to the stricken area.
Beirut has been hit by several deadly attacks over the past months, including twin suicide bombings in November that targeted the Iranian embassy and bombings in the bastion of the Shiite movement Hezbollah in the south of the capital over the summer. (AFP)