Friday morning, a car bomb was detonated in Beirut, Lebanon's capital, injuring roughly 70 people and killing at least five, including Mohamad Chatah, a former Lebanese finance minister and ambassador to the United States.
The bomb was detonated around 9:00 a.m. near the Lebanese parliament building, damaging several buildings and setting numerous cars ablaze.
No one has claimed responsibility for the attack, but Chatah, a prominent pro-western figure and vocal critic of neighboring Syria and its Lebanese militia Hezbollah ally, seems to have been the attack's main target.
This morning's bombing is just one in a string of attacks in Lebanon that have been linked to the heightening Sunni-Shia tensions over the Syrian civil war with the Future bloc and its allies backing the opponents of President Bashar al-Assad, and Hezbollah supporting him. The following 10 photos capture the devastation in Beirut in the aftermath of the boming.
1. Smoke Rises in Central Beirut
One of the first images of the attack's smoke. Unlike previous recent bombings, this was the first one to be detonated in Beirut's newly renovated downtown district.
2. Cars Set Aflame
Though only one car bomb was detonated, it contained considerable power and set several nearby cars on fire and shook numerous buildings in the square.
3. Civilians Helping
Though paramedics and police were quick to the scene, some civilians took it upon themselves to help, like this Lebanese man carrying an injured women away from the scene of the explosion.
4. Paramedics Arrive
Paramedics arrived to the scene shortly after the bomb's detonation, but enough damage had already been done to take several lives and injure many more.
5. Hezbollah Blamed For Attack
Saad Hariri implicitly accused Hezbollah of carrying out the attack. In his statement he said, "The ones who run away from international justice and refuse to appear before the international tribunal."
6. Hariri Says Hezbollah Open "the doors of evil and chaos into Lebanon"
Continuing his statement, Hariri said those behind the assassination are "the same ones who are opening the doors of evil and chaos into Lebanon" and "brought regional fires to our country." This is a clear reference to Hezbollah's participation in Syria's civil war.
7. Assassination Possibly Linked to 2005 Bombing
Hairi also believed this morning attack is linked to the 2005 bombing that killed his father Rafik Hariri. Hezbollah has denied involvement in Hariri's death and strongly denounced Chatah's assassination, saying it serves "the enemies of Lebanon."
8. Downtown Beirut
The attack left the usually busy streets empty. The downtown business district, decked out in Christmas decorations, was scene of the attack that left more than 70 people injured.
9. Investigating the Explosion
Teams of investigators were quick to arrive at the scene of the crime. Although nothing has been officially confirmed, some suspect that the attack was intended to kill Chatah and to send a message to the March 14 bloc.
10. Mohamad Chatah
Mohamad Chatah, the former Lebanese finance minister and ambassador to the United States, is believed to be the target of the bombing. He was reportedly on his way to a meeting of the anti-Syrian March 14 bloc, led by Saad Hariri.