London issues alert after Beirut blast

Oct. 19, 2012 at 12:42 PM
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BEIRUT, Lebanon, Oct. 19 (UPI) -- The British government issued an advisory Friday warning its citizens in Lebanon to stay away from demonstrations following a deadly bombing in Beirut.

A vehicle rigged with an estimated 60 pounds of explosives detonated Friday in Beirut, leaving at least eight people dead and close to 100 injured, reports Lebanese newspaper The Daily Star.

Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati put the government on a high state of alert as authorities investigated the circumstances behind the attack.

The British Foreign and Commonwealth Office updated its travel information for Lebanon, advising citizens to avoid demonstrations in the country.

"You should avoid any demonstrations or large gatherings of people," the warning read. "International news events can sometimes trigger anti-Western demonstrations."

A wave of anti-Western demonstrations in Libya last month resulted in the death of the U.S. ambassador there along with three members of his staff.

Former Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri described Beirut bombing as an "act of terror." An explosion at least 10 times the size of Friday's bombing killed his father, former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, in 2005.

There were no reports of any government officials killed or injured in Friday's attack.

Though there are concerns the civil war in Syria could spill across the border to engulf Lebanon, the Syrian government issued a statement describing Friday's blast as "cowardly and "unjustified."

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