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Large explosion rocks Beirut, unknown number of casualties

Friday, 27 Dec 2013 | 3:00 AM ET

BEIRUT, Dec 27 (Reuters) - An explosion rocked the Lebanese capital Beirut on Friday, causing an unknown number of casualties.

The blast was heard across the city and a plume of black smoke was seen rising in the downtown business district near the Phoenicia Hotel.

Ambulances were seen taking victims from the area, a witness said.

(Reporting By Samia Nakhoul; Editing by John Stonestreet)