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Breaking: Bombing in Beirut

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Reuters reports that a large explosion was heard in East Beirut a short time ago.

BEIRUT, May 20 (Reuters) - An explosion was heard in eastern Beirut late on Sunday, a Reuters witness said.

“There was a loud explosion here in east Beirut … I can see a plume of smoke rising and people are going towards the area to see what happened,” Reuters correspondent Tom Perry said.

The blast came as Lebanese troops battled Islamist militants based in a Palestinian refugee camp in the north of the country on Sunday and 48 people were killed in Lebanon’s bloodiest internal fighting since the 1975-90 civil war.

UPDATE at 5/20/07 2:29:29 pm:

More details: Explosion near Beirut shopping mall-source.

BEIRUT, May 20 (Reuters) - An explosion was heard in eastern Beirut late on Sunday, and a security source said an explosive device had detonated near a shopping mall.

“There was an explosive device either under a car or next to a car,” the source said, adding it took place in the car park of a popular mall in a Christian district in east Beirut.

Israel Matzav has a report from Israel Radio:

Just after the news: about fifteen minutes ago, there was a massive terror attack in East Beirut in a district of movie theaters. It’s not yet known how many casualties there were or the circumstances (they don’t even know whether it was a suicide bomber or a car bomb). Lebanese television just started broadcasting from the area. At least one building has completely collapsed, others have been damaged and a massive fire is burning.

UPDATE at 5/20/07 3:03:24 pm:

Explosion in Beirut kills one-security source.

BEIRUT, May 20 (Reuters) - A woman was killed when an explosive device detonated near a shopping mall in eastern Beirut late on Sunday, a security source said. Witnesses said six people were wounded by glass when windows in the area of the blast shattered.

“There was an explosive device either under a car or next to a car,” another security source said, adding it took place in the car park of a popular mall in a Christian district in east Beirut. The first source said the woman was killed when a wall at her house collapsed on her.

A Reuters witness said a plume of smoke could be seen rising from the area. Witnesses said the bomb appeared to have exploded under a car in a car park near the ABC department store, one of the biggest stores in Lebanon.

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