Eight people have reportedly been killed and 78 injured in Beirut after a rush hour huge car bomb rocked the Lebanese capital, the state-run news agency reported.

A senior Lebanese intelligence official, Wissam al-Hassan, was reported to be among those killed.

Al-Hassan is said to be close to opposition leader Saad Hariri, a critic of the government in neighbouring Syria, the BBC reported.

No group has yet claimed responsibility for the attack, but tensions between Beirut and Damascus have become fraught in recent months as a consequence of the civil war in Syria.

The bomb was detonated on a street near to Sassine Square, close to the offices of the Christian Phalange Party, in the mostly-Christian area of Ashafriyeh.

Sky News have reported that the country's Interior Minister Marwan Sharbel was near the scene of the bombing.

According to the Associated Press, bloodied people were being helped into ambulances and heavy damage to what appeared to be residential buildings in the area.

beirut bomb lebanon

The bomb shook the capital of the country, killing at least eight and injuring dozens more

The blast, which occurred during the afternoon rush hour in the city, destroyed vehicles and buildings in its vicinity, causing wires and debris to fall into the street.

Reuters report that the leader of the Phalange party, Sami al-Gemayel condemned the attack, saying: "We will not accept any procrastination in this matter, we cannot continue like that. We have been warning for a year. Enough."

The blast is the first major incident of its kind since a bomb in 2008. It has been reported that the bomb was heard kilometres away, while CNN has said its Beirut office were shaken by the bomb, 10 minutes from the scene.

Hospitals dealing with the wounded have called for blood donations to help treat the casualties.

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  • Mideast

    Lebanese rescue workers and civilians carry an injured man, from the scene of an explosion in the mostly Christian neighborhood of Achrafiyeh, Beirut, Lebanon, Friday Oct. 19, 2012. Lebanese Red Cross and security officials say a car bomb in east Beirut has killed at least eight people and wounded dozens in the worst blast the city has seen in years, coming at a time when Lebanon has seen a rise in tension and eruptions of clashes stemming from the civil war in neighboring Syria. (AP Photo/Hussein Malla)

  • LEBANON-UNREST-EXPLOSION

    Lebanese security forces and rescue workers gather at the site of an explosion in Beirut's Christian neighbourhood of Ashrafieh on October 19, 2012. A powerful bomb killed at least eight people and wounded another 78 in mainly Christian east Beirut, in the first such attack in Lebanon's capital since 2008, the National News Agency reported. AFP PHOTO/STR (Photo credit should read STR/AFP/Getty Images)

  • LEBANON-UNREST-EXPLOSION

    Lebanese security forces and rescue workers gather at the site of an explosion in Beirut's Christian neighbourhood of Ashrafieh on October 19, 2012. A powerful bomb killed at least eight people and wounded another 78 in mainly Christian east Beirut, in the first such attack in Lebanon's capital since 2008, the National News Agency reported. AFP PHOTO/STR (Photo credit should read STR/AFP/Getty Images)

  • LEBANON-UNREST-EXPLOSION

    Lebanese security forces and rescue workers gather at the site of an explosion in Beirut's Christian neighbourhood of Ashrafieh on October 19, 2012. A powerful bomb killed at least eight people and wounded another 78 in mainly Christian east Beirut, in the first such attack in Lebanon's capital since 2008, the National News Agency reported. AFP PHOTO/STR (Photo credit should read STR/AFP/Getty Images)

  • LEBANON-UNREST-EXPLOSION

    A Lebanese man evacuates a wounded woman from the site of an explosion in Beirut's Christian neighbourhood of Ashrafieh on October 19, 2012. A powerful bomb killed at least eight people and wounded another 78 in mainly Christian east Beirut, in the first such attack in Lebanon's capital since 2008, the National News Agency reported. AFP PHOTO/STR (Photo credit should read STR/AFP/Getty Images)

  • LEBANON-UNREST-EXPLOSION

    Lebanese Red Cross workers wheel a wounded woman at the site of an explosion in Beirut's Christian neighbourhood of Ashrafieh on October 19, 2012. A powerful bomb killed at least eight people and wounded another 78 in mainly Christian east Beirut, in the first such attack in Lebanon's capital since 2008, the National News Agency reported. AFP PHOTO/STR (Photo credit should read STR/AFP/Getty Images)

  • LEBANON-UNREST-EXPLOSION

    Lebanese security forces and rescue workers gather at the site of an explosion in Beirut's Christian neighbourhood of Ashrafieh on October 19, 2012. A powerful bomb killed at least eight people and wounded another 78 in mainly Christian east Beirut, in the first such attack in Lebanon's capital since 2008, the National News Agency reported. AFP PHOTO/STR (Photo credit should read STR/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Lebanese firefighters extinguish burning cars at the scene of an explosion in the mostly Christian neighborhood of Achrafiyeh, Beirut, Lebanon, Friday Oct. 19, 2012. Lebanon's state-run news agency says a massive blast in east Beirut was caused by a car bomb and that there are casualties. An Associated Press reporter at the scene saw bloodied people being helped into ambulances and heavy damage to what appeared to be residential buildings. (AP Photo/Hussein Malla)

  • mideast

    A Lebanese rescue man, carries an injured boy at the scene of an explosion in the mostly Christian neighborhood of Achrafiyeh, Beirut, Lebanon, Friday Oct. 19, 2012. A car bomb ripped through eastern Beirut on Friday, shearing the balconies of off residential buildings and sending bloodied victims pouring out into the streets in the most serious blast this city has seen in years. (AP Photo/Hussein Malla)

  • Mideast

    Lebanese civilians carry injured people at the scene of an explosion in the mostly Christian neighborhood of Achrafiyeh, Beirut, Lebanon, Friday Oct. 19, 2012. A car bomb ripped through eastern Beirut on Friday, shearing the balconies off residential buildings and sending bloodied victims pouring out into the streets in the most serious blast this city has seen in years.(AP Photo/Hussein Malla)

  • LEBANON-UNREST

    Lebanese firefighters douse a fire at the site of an explosion in Beirut's Christian neighbourhood of Ashrafieh on October 19, 2012. A powerful car bomb killed at least eight people and wounded another 78 on Friday in mainly Christian east Beirut, in the first such attack in Lebanon's capital since 2008, the National News Agency reported. AFP PHOTO/CHADY SOUAID (Photo credit should read CHADY SOUAID/AFP/Getty Images)

  • LEBANON-UNREST-EXPLOSION

    Lebanese security forces and forensic experts inspect the site of an explosion in Beirut's Christian neighbourhood of Ashrafieh on October 19, 2012. A powerful bomb killed at least eight people and wounded another 78 in mainly Christian east Beirut, in the first such attack in Lebanon's capital since 2008, the National News Agency reported. AFP PHOTO/ANWAR AMRO (Photo credit should read ANWAR AMRO/AFP/Getty Images)

  • LEBANON-UNREST-EXPLOSION

    Lebanese security forces inspect the site of an explosion in Beirut's Christian neighbourhood of Ashrafieh on October 19, 2012. A powerful bomb killed at least eight people and wounded another 78 in mainly Christian east Beirut, in the first such attack in Lebanon's capital since 2008, the National News Agency reported. AFP PHOTO/ANWAR AMRO (Photo credit should read ANWAR AMRO/AFP/Getty Images)

  • LEBANON-UNREST-EXPLOSION

    A Lebanese Red Cross worker treats a wounded woman near the site of an explosion in Beirut's Christian neighbourhood of Ashrafieh on October 19, 2012. A powerful bomb killed at least eight people and wounded another 78 in mainly Christian east Beirut, in the first such attack in Lebanon's capital since 2008, the National News Agency reported. AFP PHOTO/ANWAR AMRO (Photo credit should read ANWAR AMRO/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Mideast

    Lebanese soldiers inspect damaged buildings at the scene of an explosion in the mostly Christian neighborhood of Achrafiyeh, Beirut, Lebanon, Friday Oct. 19, 2012. Lebanese Red Cross and security officials say a car bomb in east Beirut has killed at least eight people and wounded dozens in the worst blast the city has seen in years, coming at a time when Lebanon has seen a rise in tension and eruptions of clashes stemming from the civil war in neighboring Syria. (AP Photo/Bilal Hussein)

  • Mideast

    Lebanese soldiers inspect damage at the scene of an explosion in the mostly Christian neighborhood of Achrafiyeh, Beirut, Lebanon, Friday Oct. 19, 2012. Lebanese Red Cross and security officials say a car bomb in east Beirut has killed at least eight people and wounded dozens in the worst blast the city has seen in years, coming at a time when Lebanon has seen a rise in tension and eruptions of clashes stemming from the civil war in neighboring Syria. (AP Photo/Bilal Hussein)

  • Mideast

    Lebanese soldiers inspect damaged buildings at the scene of an explosion in the mostly Christian neighborhood of Achrafiyeh, Beirut, Lebanon, Friday Oct. 19, 2012. Lebanese Red Cross and security officials say a car bomb in east Beirut has killed at least eight people and wounded dozens in the worst blast the city has seen in years, coming at a time when Lebanon has seen a rise in tension and eruptions of clashes stemming from the civil war in neighboring Syria. (AP Photo/Bilal Hussein)

  • Injured Lebanese leave the scene of an explosion in the mostly Christian neighborhood of Achrafiyeh, Beirut, Lebanon, Friday Oct. 19, 2012. Lebanese Red Cross and security officials say a car bomb in east Beirut has killed at least eight people and wounded dozens in the worst blast the city has seen in years, coming at a time when Lebanon has seen a rise in tension and eruptions of clashes stemming from the civil war in neighboring Syria. (AP Photo/Hussein Malla)

  • A Lebanese firefighter extinguishes flames at the scene of an explosion in the mostly Christian neighborhood of Achrafiyeh, Beirut, Lebanon, Friday Oct. 19, 2012. Lebanon's state news agency says a car bomb in east Beirut has killed at least six people and wounded scores in the worst blast the city has seen in years coming at a time when Lebanon has seen a rise in tension and eruptions of clashes stemming from the civil war in neighboring Syria. (AP Photo/Hussein Malla)

  • Lebanese firefighters extinguish burning cars at the scene of an explosion in the mostly Christian neighborhood of Achrafiyeh, Beirut, Lebanon, Friday Oct. 19, 2012. Lebanon's state news agency says a car bomb in east Beirut has killed at least six people and wounded scores in the worst blast the city has seen in years, coming at a time when Lebanon has seen a rise in tension and eruptions of clashes stemming from the civil war in neighboring Syria. (AP Photo/Hussein Malla)

  • A Lebanese rescue worker, right, helps injured people to leave the scene of an explosion in the mostly Christian neighborhood of Achrafiyeh, Beirut, Lebanon, Friday Oct. 19, 2012. Lebanese Red Cross and security officials say a car bomb in east Beirut has killed at least eight people and wounded dozens in the worst blast the city has seen in years, coming at a time when Lebanon has seen a rise in tension and eruptions of clashes stemming from the civil war in neighboring Syria. (AP Photo/Hussein Malla)

  • A injured woman is carried by a civilian at the scene of an explosion in the mostly Christian neighborhood of Achrafiyeh, Beirut, Lebanon, Friday Oct. 19, 2012. Lebanese Red Cross and security officials say a car bomb in east Beirut has killed at least eight people and wounded dozens in the worst blast the city has seen in years, coming at a time when Lebanon has seen a rise in tension and eruptions of clashes stemming from the civil war in neighboring Syria. (AP Photo/Hussein Malla)

  • A injured woman is carried by civilians away from the scene of an explosion in the mostly Christian neighborhood of Achrafiyeh, Beirut, Lebanon, Friday Oct. 19, 2012. Lebanese Red Cross and security officials say a car bomb in east Beirut has killed at least eight people and wounded dozens in the worst blast the city has seen in years, coming at a time when Lebanon has seen a rise in tension and eruptions of clashes stemming from the civil war in neighboring Syria. (AP Photo/Hussein Malla)

  • LEBANON-UNREST-EXPLOSION

    Lebanese security forces and rescue workers inspect the site of an explosion in Beirut's Christian neighbourhood of Ashrafieh on October 19, 2012. A powerful bomb killed at least eight people and wounded another 78 in mainly Christian east Beirut, in the first such attack in Lebanon's capital since 2008, the National News Agency reported. AFP PHOTO/ANWAR AMRO (Photo credit should read ANWAR AMRO/AFP/Getty Images)

  • LEBANON-UNREST-EXPLOSION

    Lebanese security forces gather at the site of an explosion in Beirut's Christian neighbourhood of Ashrafieh on October 19, 2012. A powerful bomb killed at least eight people and wounded another 78 in mainly Christian east Beirut, in the first such attack in Lebanon's capital since 2008, the National News Agency reported. AFP PHOTO/ANWAR AMRO (Photo credit should read ANWAR AMRO/AFP/Getty Images)

  • LEBANON-UNREST-EXPLOSION

    A Lebanese forensic expert examines an area near the site of an explosion in Beirut's Christian neighbourhood of Ashrafieh on October 19, 2012. A powerful bomb killed at least eight people and wounded another 78 in mainly Christian east Beirut, in the first such attack in Lebanon's capital since 2008, the National News Agency reported. AFP PHOTO/ANWAR AMRO (Photo credit should read ANWAR AMRO/AFP/Getty Images)

  • LEBANON-UNREST-EXPLOSION

    Lebanese forensic experts examine the site of an explosion in Beirut's Christian neighbourhood of Ashrafieh on October 19, 2012. A powerful bomb killed at least eight people and wounded another 78 in mainly Christian east Beirut, in the first such attack in Lebanon's capital since 2008, the National News Agency reported. AFP PHOTO/ANWAR AMRO (Photo credit should read ANWAR AMRO/AFP/Getty Images)

  • LEBANON-UNREST-EXPLOSION

    Lebanese forensic experts and security forces inspect the site of an explosion in Beirut's Christian neighbourhood of Ashrafieh on October 19, 2012. A powerful bomb killed at least eight people and wounded another 78 in mainly Christian east Beirut, in the first such attack in Lebanon's capital since 2008, the National News Agency reported. AFP PHOTO/ANWAR AMRO (Photo credit should read ANWAR AMRO/AFP/Getty Images)

  • LEBANON-UNREST-EXPLOSION

    A picture shows a heavily damaged building at the site of an explosion in Beirut's Christian neighbourhood of Ashrafieh on October 19, 2012. A powerful bomb killed at least eight people and wounded another 78 in mainly Christian east Beirut, in the first such attack in Lebanon's capital since 2008, the National News Agency reported. AFP PHOTO/ANWAR AMRO (Photo credit should read ANWAR AMRO/AFP/Getty Images)

  • LEBANON-UNREST-EXPLOSION

    Lebanese security forces inspect the site of an explosion in Beirut's Christian neighbourhood of Ashrafieh on October 19, 2012. A powerful bomb killed at least eight people and wounded another 78 in mainly Christian east Beirut, in the first such attack in Lebanon's capital since 2008, the National News Agency reported. AFP PHOTO/ANWAR AMRO (Photo credit should read ANWAR AMRO/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Lebanese firefighters extinguish burning cars at the scene of an explosion in the mostly Christian neighborhood of Achrafiyeh in Beirut, Lebanon, Friday Oct. 19, 2012. Lebanon's state-run news agency says a massive blast in east Beirut was caused by a car bomb and that there are casualties. An Associated Press reporter at the scene saw bloodied people being helped into ambulances and heavy damage to what appeared to be residential buildings. (AP Photo/Hussein Malla)

  • A Lebanese civilian carries an injured woman at the scene of an explosion in the mostly Christian neighborhood of Achrafiyeh, Beirut, Lebanon, Friday Oct. 19, 2012. A car bomb ripped through eastern Beirut on Friday, shearing the balconies off residential buildings and sending bloodied victims pouring out into the streets in the most serious blast this city has seen in years.(AP Photo/Hussein Malla)

  • A Lebanese rescue worker, center, helps an injured man at the scene of an explosion in the mostly Christian neighborhood of Achrafiyeh, Beirut, Lebanon, Friday Oct. 19, 2012. A car bomb ripped through eastern Beirut on Friday, shearing the balconies off residential buildings and sending bloodied victims pouring out into the streets in the most serious blast this city has seen in years. (AP Photo/Hussein Malla)

  • LEBANON-UNREST

    Lebanese firefighters douse a fire at the site of an explosion in Beirut's Christian neighbourhood of Ashrafieh on October 19, 2012. A powerful car bomb blast left dead and wounded in mainly Christian east Beirut, in the first such attack in the Lebanese capital since 2008, the National News Agency reported. AFP PHOTO / PATRICK BAZ (Photo credit should read PATRICK BAZ/AFP/Getty Images)

  • LEBANON-UNREST-EXPLOSION

    Lebanese men evacuate a wounded woman at the scene of a car bomb explosion in Beirut's Christian neighbourhood of Ashrafieh on October 19, 2012. A car bomb attack left dead and wounded in mainly Christian east Beirut, in the first such attack in the Lebanese capital since 2008, the National News Agency reported. AFP PHOTO/STR (Photo credit should read -/AFP/Getty Images)

  • LEBANON-UNREST-EXPLOSION

    Lebanese firefighters douse burning vehicles at the site of a car bomb explosion in Beirut's Christian neighbourhood of Ashrafieh on October 19, 2012. A car bomb attack left dead and wounded in mainly Christian east Beirut on Friday, in the first such attack in the Lebanese capital since 2008, the National News Agency reported. AFP PHOTO/STR (Photo credit should read -/AFP/Getty Images)

  • LEBANON-UNREST

    Lebanese security forces gather at the site of an explosion in Beirut's Christian neighbourhood of Ashrafieh on October 19, 2012. A powerful car bomb blast left dead and wounded in mainly Christian east Beirut, in the first such attack in the Lebanese capital since 2008, the National News Agency reported. AFP PHOTO / PATRICK BAZ (Photo credit should read PATRICK BAZ/AFP/Getty Images)

  • LEBANON-UNREST-EXPLOSION

    Lebanese firefighters douse burning vehicles at the site of a car bomb explosion in Beirut's Christian neighbourhood of Ashrafieh on October 19, 2012. A car bomb attack left dead and wounded in mainly Christian east Beirut on Friday, in the first such attack in the Lebanese capital since 2008, the National News Agency reported. AFP PHOTO/STR (Photo credit should read -/AFP/Getty Images)

  • LEBANON-UNREST

    Lebanese security forces and rescue workers gather at the site of an explosion in Beirut's Christian neighbourhood of Ashrafieh on October 19, 2012. A powerful car bomb blast left dead and wounded in mainly Christian east Beirut, in the first such attack in the Lebanese capital since 2008, the National News Agency reported. AFP PHOTO / PATRICK BAZ (Photo credit should read PATRICK BAZ/AFP/Getty Images)

  • LEBANON-UNREST

    Lebanese firefighters inspect a heavily damaged building after extinguishing a fire following an explosion in Beirut's Christian neighbourhood of Ashrafieh on October 19, 2012. A powerful car bomb blast left dead and wounded in mainly Christian east Beirut, in the first such attack in the Lebanese capital since 2008, the National News Agency reported. AFP PHOTO / PATRICK BAZ (Photo credit should read PATRICK BAZ/AFP/Getty Images)

  • LEBANON-UNREST

    Lebanese men carry a wounded civilian at the site of an explosion in Beirut's Christian neighbourhood of Ashrafieh on October 19, 2012. A powerful car bomb blast left dead and wounded in mainly Christian east Beirut, in the first such attack in the Lebanese capital since 2008, the National News Agency reported. AFP PHOTO / PATRICK BAZ (Photo credit should read PATRICK BAZ/AFP/Getty Images)

  • LEBANON-UNREST

    Lebanese security forces and a firefighter gather at the site of an explosion in Beirut's Christian neighbourhood of Ashrafieh on October 19, 2012. A powerful car bomb blast left dead and wounded in mainly Christian east Beirut, in the first such attack in the Lebanese capital since 2008, the National News Agency reported. AFP PHOTO / PATRICK BAZ (Photo credit should read PATRICK BAZ/AFP/Getty Images)

  • LEBANON-UNREST

    Lebanese firefighters and rescue workers gather at the site of an explosion in Beirut's Christian neighbourhood of Ashrafieh on October 19, 2012. A powerful car bomb blast left dead and wounded in mainly Christian east Beirut, in the first such attack in the Lebanese capital since 2008, the National News Agency reported. AFP PHOTO / PATRICK BAZ (Photo credit should read PATRICK BAZ/AFP/Getty Images)

  • LEBANON-UNREST-EXPLOSION

    A wounded Lebanese woman is evacuated from the site of an explosion in Beirut's Christian neighbourhood of Ashrafieh on October 19, 2012. A powerful bomb killed at least eight people and wounded another 78 in mainly Christian east Beirut, in the first such attack in Lebanon's capital since 2008, the National News Agency reported. AFP PHOTO/ANWAR AMRO (Photo credit should read ANWAR AMRO/AFP/Getty Images)

  • LEBANON-UNREST-EXPLOSION

    Lebanese security forces and people gather to inspect the site of an explosion in Beirut's Christian neighbourhood of Ashrafieh on October 19, 2012. A powerful bomb killed at least eight people and wounded another 78 in mainly Christian east Beirut, in the first such attack in Lebanon's capital since 2008, the National News Agency reported. AFP PHOTO/ANWAR AMRO (Photo credit should read ANWAR AMRO/AFP/Getty Images)

  • LEBANON-UNREST-EXPLOSION

    Lebanese security forces and rescue workers gather at the site of an explosion in Beirut's Christian neighbourhood of Ashrafieh on October 19, 2012. A powerful bomb killed at least eight people and wounded another 78 in mainly Christian east Beirut, in the first such attack in Lebanon's capital since 2008, the National News Agency reported. AFP PHOTO/ANWAR AMRO (Photo credit should read ANWAR AMRO/AFP/Getty Images)

  • LEBANON-UNREST-EXPLOSION

    Lebanese firefighters douse burning vehicles at the site of a car bomb explosion in Beirut's Christian neighbourhood of Ashrafieh on October 19, 2012. A car bomb attack left dead and wounded in mainly Christian east Beirut on Friday, in the first such attack in the Lebanese capital since 2008, the National News Agency reported. AFP PHOTO/STR (Photo credit should read -/AFP/Getty Images)

  • LEBANON-UNREST-EXPLOSION

    Lebanese firefighters douse burning vehicles at the site of a car bomb explosion in Beirut's Christian neighbourhood of Ashrafieh on October 19, 2012. A car bomb attack left dead and wounded in mainly Christian east Beirut on Friday, in the first such attack in the Lebanese capital since 2008, the National News Agency reported. AFP PHOTO/STR (Photo credit should read -/AFP/Getty Images)

  • LEBANON-UNREST-EXPLOSION

    Lebanese firefighters extinguish a fire at the scene of a car bomb explosion in Beirut's Christian neighbourhood of Ashrafieh on October 19, 2012. A car bomb attack left dead and wounded in mainly Christian east Beirut, in the first such attack in the Lebanese capital since 2008, the National News Agency reported. AFP PHOTO/STR (Photo credit should read -/AFP/Getty Images)

  • LEBANON-UNREST-EXPLOSION

    A Lebanese policeman helps a wounded woman following a car bomb explosion in Beirut's Christian neighbourhood of Ashrafieh on October 19, 2012. A car bomb attack left dead and wounded in mainly Christian east Beirut, in the first such attack in the Lebanese capital since 2008, the National News Agency reported. AFP PHOTO/STR (Photo credit should read -/AFP/Getty Images)

  • LEBANON-UNREST-EXPLOSION

    Lebanese firefighters douse burning vehicles at the site of a car bomb explosion in Beirut's Christian neighbourhood of Ashrafieh on October 19, 2012. A car bomb attack left dead and wounded in mainly Christian east Beirut on Friday, in the first such attack in the Lebanese capital since 2008, the National News Agency reported. AFP PHOTO/STR (Photo credit should read -/AFP/Getty Images)