Lebanese officials say a car bombing in central Beirut has killed former Finance Minister Mohamad Chatah and an unknown number of others.
Chatah, a Sunni Muslim, was a senior advisor to ex-Prime Minister Saad Hariri. He previously served as the Lebanese ambassador to Washington.
The Lebanese National News Agency reported that an unidentified companion of Chatah was also killed in the explosion, which left a thick cloud of black smoke rising above the hotel district.
Video and social media showed terrified people running from the scene. Some appeared to be wounded, though there was no immediate word on other casualties.
No one has claimed responsibility for the bombing. Lebanon has seen a recent increase in violence related to the bloody Syrian civil war that has spilled over the border.