Strong explosion shakes Lebanese capital, black smoke billowing from central Beirut

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A strong explosion has shaken the Lebanese capital, sending black smoke billowing from the center of Beirut.

The blast went off a few hundred meters (yards) from the government headquarters and parliament building. The cause was not immediately known.

Troops were seen deploying nearby, and ambulances were rushing to the area

Lebanon has seen a wave of bombings over the past months as tensions rise over Syria's civil war.