The blast took place right in front of the Hyatt Hotel (under construction), which is one street behind the seafront promenade and the Four Seasons hotel, Zaytuna Bay area.

Blast site facing Grand Hyatt, bottom right

This is probably the first major attack in the area since the end of the civil war in 1991. It was actually one of the first battlegrounds in the 1970s, the infamous “war of the hotels.” But over the last two decades, the area has been rebuilt into a luxury district with apartments valued in the millions of dollars.

The combatants are entirely different today. Instead of snipers and street-to-street shelling, now the war takes on the form of targeted assassinations, in this case the killing of former minister and close Saad Hariri advisor, Mohammad Chatah.

The wave of assassinations, which has claimed several politicians over the last few years, was set off by the bomb that killed former prime minister Rafik Hariri in 2005, ironically only a few blocks away from today’s blast.

Nearly every window blown out in the nearby Starco office block. All screen shots from Future TV.

Details still emerging. Follow me @habib_b on Twitter for updates 

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