Hariri's Adviser Shatah Killed in Huge Explosion that Rocked Beirutإقرأ هذا الخبر بالعربية
A heavy explosion that rocked the capital Beirut on Friday targeted the convoy of former Finance Minister Mohammed Shatah, who is ex-Prime Minister Saad Hariri's adviser.
Shatah's vehicle license was located in the area of the blast.
The body of Shatah was retrieved from the scene and transferred to AUBMC.
The blast that hit Starco area in downtown Beirut near Bank Audi-SAL killed six people and at least 50 others were wounded.
Around 400 meters of the area was damaged.
Caretaker PM Najib Miqati swiftly called for an emergency meeting for the Higher Council for Disasters.
“Hizbullah is pressing hard to be granted similar powers in security and foreign policy matters that Syria exercised in Lebanon for 15 years,” Shatah wrote in a tweet a few hours before his assassination.
Shatah had served as adviser to former PM Fouad Saniora and his successor and Saad Hariri, whose own father was assassinated in a huge Beirut seafront car bomb in February 2005 blamed on Syria.
A meeting for the March 14 alliance was scheduled to be held at the Center House in downtown.
State Commissioner to the Military Court Judge Saqr Saqr arrived at the scene to inspect the site of explosion.
Saqr said that the explosion weighed between 50 and 60 kilos.
Higher Defense Council chief General Mohammed Kheir also inspected the area at the head of a delegation to determine the needs of the victims and take the necessary measures to aid them.
Early estimates said around 30 kilograms of highly combustible elements were used in the explosives.
Red Cross Operations Director George Kettaneh told LBCI that “there are more than 15 casualties.”
Caretaker Health Minister Ali Hassan Khalil later ordered all hospitals in Beirut to receive those who were wounded in the explosion.
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.
People were seen running to rescue the injured as a helicopter was seen hovering over the area of the blast.
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.
Civil defense teams battled fire that erupted in the area of the explosion.
The blast, according to media reports, was caused by a booby-trapped car.
According to MTV the suicide attacker's name was identified by Ahmed.
Security forces were seen opening fire in the air to disperse people gathered near the blast and began checking the identification papers of passers-by in the area.
The blast caused a major dysfunction in mobile phone communications.
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 Hizbullah in the south of the capital over the summer.
The 33-month war in Syria has deeply divided the Lebanese and triggered political tensions and sectarian clashes in the country.