Windows were shattered up to a mile away. Robert Fisk was in Beirut and got to the scene early & has been on CNN describing a 15ft crater & up to 22 burning cars, one flung three floors up onto a hotel annexe and another in the sea.
Five time-Prime Minister Rafik Hariri has been killed in the attack.
Quote from BBCNews Website? “Rafik Hariri, people say, loves to project himself as ‘Mr Lebanon’.
He dominated post-war political and business life and was widely credited with getting the country back on its feet after the devastating 15-year civil war.
Using his financial clout, the billionaire entrepreneur attracted foreign investment and set up private redevelopment firms to rebuild the business heart of Beirut.
But in the process he saddled the country with big debts and departed from power in 1998 after a row with President Lahoud. “
France has been bankrolling Lebanon’s $40bn(ish) debts. There is also an election in May. There is no chance of this being a suicide bomber or a carbomb, because of its huge scale – it had to be planted beforehand.
Cell phones and landlines in the area all failed after the explosion.
Sky, by the way, had live shots of the scene, spoke to a journalist in Beirut & broke the news of the ex-PM’s death first. But since then, not a lot.
1307: Secretary General of the Arab League says ‘this is a very serious and dangerous moment’
1300: Sky spent 6mins on the story with Tim in the Studio. I hope Emma is on her way there.
Echo that. Keith Graves is the man for Beirut. He’s always been really good reporting from there. This is really awful news. Have been watching on Reuters. (SN not available outside of UK/Eire…come on guys, join the party. I can watch BBC24 should I want to – prefer Reuters, but would like to be able to watch Sky video clips on the web.)