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Fire hits landmark building in central Beirut

The third blaze in weeks in Lebanon's capital damaged a futuristic seafront building designed by world-famous architect Zaha Hadid
Firefighters tackle the blaze at the Beirut building, which was designed by the late renowned British-Iraqi architect Zaha Hadid (AFP)

A fire briefly erupted in a landmark building in central Beirut's commercial district on Tuesday, a civil defence official has said.

The fire broke out in a futuristic seafront building - which was close to completion after years of construction - before being extinguished. 

Lebanese broadcaster Al-Jadeed earlier showed images of smoke billowing from the building. A witness said that part of one side of the building was smouldering as firefighters hosed it down, according to Reuters.

Beirut port fire hits warehouse storing critical food aid
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The building had been designed by the late world-renowned British-Iraqi architect Zaha Hadid.

Last week, two fires had broken out at and near the Beirut port, the scene of the catastrophic 4 August explosion that killed nearly 200 people, injured more than 6,000 and devastated entire neighbourhoods of the Lebanese capital.

A large fire that broke out on Thursday reached a warehouse containing critical food aid, the International Committee of the Red Cross said.

The spate of fires had further shaken the residents of Beirut, still traumatised by last month's explosion.

Lebanon had launched a probe into the blast, one of the biggest non-nuclear explosions ever recorded, and had arrested 25 suspects. Among them were top port and customs officials, as well as Syrian workers who had allegedly carried out welding hours before the explosion.

Lebanese authorities rejected an international investigation into the explosion, but its probe was being aided by foreign experts, including specialists from France and the US Federal Bureau of Investigation.

However, Lebanese activists had expressed serious doubts that the government investigation would effectively uncover those responsible for the explosion, as the corruption and inefficiency of the country's ruling class were widely seen as to blame.