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Car Bomb Kills Former Lebanese Finance Minister

An explosion in Beirut has killed former Lebanese Finance Minister Muhammad Shattah and at least four others.

Reports say a huge car bomb targeted Shattah, a Sunni Muslim, as his convoy was heading to a meeting with a Syrian opposition group.

The blast also wounded at least 50 people.

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, and restaurants.

Ambulances were seen taking victims from the area. Beirut has witnessed increased violence as a spillover of the conflict in neighboring Syria.

Two explosions outside the Iranian Embassy in Beirut in November killed at least 23 people -- including one diplomat -- and left more than 100 injured.

Fighting in Syria has increased sectarian tensions in Lebanon.
Based on reporting by AFP, AP, BBC, and Reuters