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Hussein Malla, Associated Press
Lebanese firefighters extinguish burning cars at the scene of an explosion in the mostly Christian neighborhood of Achrafiyeh, Beirut, Lebanon, Friday Oct. 19, 2012. Lebanon's state-run news agency says a massive blast in east Beirut was caused by a car bomb and that there are casualties. An Associated Press reporter at the scene saw bloodied people being helped into ambulances and heavy damage to what appeared to be residential buildings.

BEIRUT — Lebanon's state-run media says a senior security official was killed in Friday's car bomb attack in Beirut.

The National News Agency said in a statement that it "announces the martyrdom" of Maj. Gen. Wissam al-Hassan, the head of the national police intelligence unit, in the explosion that ripped through east Beirut.

Al-Hassan was among at least eight people killed. The bomb wounded dozens of other, sheared the balconies off apartment buildings and sent bloodied residents staggering into the streets in the most serious blast the Lebanese capital has seen in more than four years.