Updated: 7:58 a.m. EST
A strong explosion shook the Lebanese capital of Beirut on Friday, sending black clouds billowing just a few hundred meters from the government’s headquarters and parliament. Mohammed Chatah, a Sunni former minister and ambassador to U.S. who opposed Syrian President Bashar Assad, was killed in the attack, state television reported.
Troops and emergency services were seen racing to the area. Although the exact cause of the latest explosion remains unclear, Lebanon has experienced a wave of bombings over recent months as tensions rise regarding the civil war in neighboring Syria. Five other people including Chatah’s driver were apparently killed in the attack, while more than 70 were wounded.
This article has been updated from the original with the latest details and casualty figures.