Lebanon blast: Top official and seven others killed


The head of intelligence for Lebanon's national police and security force has been killed in a huge car bomb explosion in Beirut.

Wissam al-Hassan was among at least eight people killed by the explosion in the heart of the mainly Christian Ashrafiyeh district.

Mr al-Hassan led the investigation that implicated Syria in the bombing that killed the former prime minster Rafiq Hariri in 2005, and he recently organised the arrest of a former minister, accused of planning a Syrian-sponsored bombing campaign in Lebanon.

Many Lebanese Sunni Muslims have taken to the streets, burning tyres, to denounce Mr Hassan's assassination.

Syria has condemned the bombing. But in an interview with the Lebanese channel Future Television, Rafiq Hariri's son, Saad al-Hariri, placed the blame for Mr Hassan's death directly with Syria's President Assad.

The BBC's Wyre Davies reports from the scene.

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