An explosion reportedly set off by a suicide terrorist ripped through the Iraqi Embassy Tuesday, killing at least nine people and injuring scores of others.
It was not immediately clear whether the blast was caused by a bombing attack or the explosion of armaments stored inside the five-story embassy. A plainclothes security man told a reporter the blast was caused by a young suicide terrorist who drove a car into the walled embassy compound and crashed it into the main building some 50 yards away.
The report was echoed by some Western diplomats. But people familiar with the layout of the building said such an attack would be extremely difficult.
Syrian peacekeeping troops and Iraqi security men poured into the streets of the waterfront area, firing into the air to warn away reporters and curious pedestrians.
The explosion was the latest in a series of blasts in Beirut and other Lebanese cities in recent months, including an explosion in the north coastal city of Tripoli which killed 23 and wounded 80 others. A similar blast outside Palestinian offices in west Beirut Oct. 1 killed 83 people and wounded 225 others.