Former Lebanese minister Mohamad Chatah has been killed in an explosion that targeted his convoy in Beirut, according to security forces.
The ex-minister along with a reported four other people died in the attack near the business district of Beirut and close to the Grand Serail – the headquarters of the Lebanon’s prime minister.
Chatah, a Sunni Muslim, was also an opposition figure and an aide to former prime minister Saad al-Hariri. Chatah was hostile to the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
The blast happened around 9.40am local time destroying a coffee shop and restaurant and setting several cars on fire. Ambulances rushed the estimated 50 injured people to hospitals.
Parts of Beirut are blocked off after police closed roads.
This bombing comes less than three weeks before the trial of those charged with assassinating former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri in February 2005.