The big explosion that rocked downtown Beirut Friday targeted the convoy of former Finance Minister Mohammed Shatah, adviser to Saad Hariri, former prime minister and leader of the pro-Saudi Sunni community opposed to Hizballah. The bodies of Shatah and his bodyguard were retrieved from the scene, according to local media.  Another five people were killed in the explosion, which occurred near the Lebanese prime minister’s office, and 15 others were wounded. DEBKAfile: Hizballah and its Iranian backer were clearly acting to avenge the series of bombing attacks staged against the Iranian embassy and Hizballah strongholds since that Lebanese terrorist group joined Bashar Assad’s army fighting  the Syrian civil war. Witnesses report a burning vehicle, apparently the bomb car, on the smoke-wreathed scene, as ambulances evacuated the victims and helicopters hovered overhead.

The Lebanese government has scheduled an emergency session following the attack.