Oxygen tank explodes at Beirut construction site

An oxygen tank exploded at a construction site in central Beirut on Friday, injuring two workers and causing panic among residents who thought another bomb attack had occurred. The loud explosion near the offices of Lebanon's leading newspaper, followed by ambulance and fire-engine sirens, got people scrambling for their phones to determine the cause. Local television stations interrupted their programs to flash that an explosion had been heard in the city's downtown.

The panic reflected the apprehension in a country that has suffered 14 bombings in the past year, the worst being the Feb. 14 blast that killed former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri and 20 other people.

Two workers were slightly burned in Friday's oxygen tank explosion which shattered the glass facade of nearby shops. The blast occurred at a construction site near the offices of An-Nahar newspaper, whose general manager and senior editor Gibran Tueni was assassinated by a car bomb earlier this month. Another anti-Syrian journalist at the newspaper was assassinated by a car-bomb in June, reports the AP. I.L.

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