The car bomb that killed prominent Lebanese politician Mohamad Chatah on Friday was heard loudly in a nearby television studio from which a live program was being broadcast.
The host of the show on Future TV at first appeared startled but continued her show with cool composure until tossing to a commercial break.
Here’s a video of the incident that the network posted to YouTube (translation below):
The Washington Post blog posted this translation offered by an Arabic speaker on Reddit:
Guest: We need to change the present, if we have today – (explosion)
Interviewer: Sounds like an explosion.
Interviewer: Dr. Hanin [the name of the guest], we heard an explosion around the perimeter. And they are hurrying to his position. Sound barrier [from an aircraft] or an explosion, we don’t know but it’s a loud bang we just heard.
Interviewer: Maybe the Israeli aircraft [she quickly cut herself off from this speculation] we don’t know, we don’t know, Dr. Hanin. But hearing any noise make us very afraid.
Guest: Of course.
Interviewer: Anyway, a short break and we’ll be back to resume the episode.
Though the television host immediately pointed a finger at Israel, allies of Chatah who was critical of Syria and Hezbollah are blaming the Lebanese Shiite group for the bombing which President Barack Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry called a “terrorist attack.”
Washington Post foreign affairs blogger Max Fisher noted the anchor’s “remarkably calm and self-possessed” reaction to the startling blast.
“Maybe that’s just because they’re TV professionals who know how to keep a broadcast going, but one has to wonder if even the United States’ most practiced anchors would show quite that much composure right after having their studio shaken by what they quickly surmised to be a bomb,” he wrote.
The bombing also killed a Lebanese teenager who just moments before had posed for a group “selfie” in front of the car that was set to explode. The photo had been circulated since Friday on Arabic social media forums.
Al Arabiya reported that Mohammad al-Chaar, a 16-year-old Lebanese teenager who was seen posing for this group photo with his friends in front of the bomb-laden car moments before it exploded, died of his injuries on Saturday.
The Daily Mail reported that the gold colored car in the upper left of the photo was the car bomb.
News of the teen’s death “sparked an outpouring of tributes on social media networks,” Al Arabiya reported.
The powerful car bomb struck the SUV in which 62-year-old politician Chatah was traveling near Beirut’s waterfront, the Associated Press reported.
At his funeral on Sunday, angry mourners shouted chants against Hezbollah. Chatah was a former Lebanese ambassador to the United States and a senior aide to ex-Prime Minister Saad Hariri.