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Explosion kills Lebanon's former prime minister Hariri

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Former prime minister Rafiq Hariri was killed Monday as a huge explosion ripped through the Lebanese capital, hospital sources and television stations said.

At least six people had been killed in the blast, including bodyguards of the 60-year-old former premier.

A car bomb caused the explosion which devastated the seafront area in the west of the capital.

It struck just as a convoy of four black limousines escorted by jeeps was passing, witnesses told AFP.

There was no official confirmation of Future TV's claim that it was a car bomb attack, or of the exact number of casualties, but burning bodies and vehicles could be seen in local television pictures.

Sirens wailed as ambulances raced to hospital carrying the wounded while television showed doctors and nurses treating them.

Lebanese security forces threw up a security cordon in the zone, near the St George Hotel. Burning cars and debris from shattered buildings brought back memories of Lebanon's 1975-1990 civil war.

Prime Minister Omar Karameh went to the scene, as did MPs who broke off a parliamentary session.

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Beirut,02 15 2005
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