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Ex-minister killed in Beirut blast

A former Lebanese minister has reportedly been killed, along with at least four others, in a targeted explosion in the downtown business district of the Lebanese capital Beirut.

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'Panic and terror' amongst residents after Beirut bomb

Residents have described seeing "panic and terror" in the streets of Beirut after a bomb blast hit the Lebanese capital killing five people including a former minister.

"The explosion caught motorists driving in the morning rush hour here. There was terror and panic among residents. There was a big ball of fire and panic everywhere and then we learned that Chatah was the target," Adel-Raouf Kneio said.

Lebanese army soldiers run to secure the site of an explosion. Credit: Reuters

The blast, which was heard across the city at around 9:40 am local time, damaged restaurants, coffee shops and offices in downtown Beirut.

"I heard a huge explosion and saw a ball of fire and palls of black smoke. We run out of our offices to the streets," Hassan Akkawi, who works in a finance company nearby, said.

Civil Defence personnel extinguish fires on cars at the site of an explosion in Beirut. Credit: Reuters

Witnesses described seeing glass everywhere, cars on fire and smelling explosives in the air.

Much of Beirut went into lockdown following the explosion, with police blocking off roads across the city.

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