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Blasts outside Iranian embassy kills at least 23 in Beirut

Blasts outside Iranian embassy kills at least 23 in Beirut
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POSTED: Tuesday, November 19, 2013 - 5:28am

UPDATED: Tuesday, November 19, 2013 - 11:25am

At least 23 people were killed in explosions Tuesday in front of the Iranian embassy in southern Beirut, the Lebanese health ministry said.

Another 146 people were injured, the health ministry said.

Iran's state-run Press TV said cultural attache Ibrahim Ansari, was seriously wounded, citing the Iranian ambassador.

The dead include two Iranian civilians who lived in a building close to the Iranian embassy, Lebanon's National News Agency reported.

Stunned witnesses looked on as a series of massive flames and pillars of black smoke leapt into the the sky. The fires burned out several cars parked on a nearby street.

At least six buildings were damaged, Lebanese Internal Security Forces said.

Lebanon's acting prime minister, Najib Mikati, said the blasts were "a cowardly terrorist attack" and urged the Lebanese public "to exercise the utmost restraint because we are going through a very difficult phase," NNA reported.

Mikati also called Iran's ambassador to Lebanon, Ghazanfar Roknabadi, to check on his safety and express his condolences, NNA said.

CNN's Nick Paton Walsh and Holly Yan contributed to this report.

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