Large explosion rocks Beirut, unknown number of casualties

Lebanese army personnel run at the site of an explosion in Beirut's downtown area Dec 27, 2013. The explosion rocked the Lebanese capital on Friday, causing an unknown number of casualties. The blast was heard across the city and a plume of black smo
Lebanese army personnel run at the site of an explosion in Beirut's downtown area Dec 27, 2013. The explosion rocked the Lebanese capital 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. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

BEIRUT (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.