Four dead, three injured in Beirut building collapse

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A building collapsed in a southern suburb of Beirut late Monday, killing four people and injuring three others as search operations continued for more people under the rubble, a paramedic official said.

The building that collapsed in the suburb of Choueifat Monday night crumbled after days of heavy rain in Lebanon. Local officials said the building was not considered safe and the municipality had ordered the four-story building evacuated two years ago out of concerns its foundations were weak. Despite the order, the owner of the building rented apartments to Syrian families.

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Most of the people living in the building are Syrian citizens, according to Raja Zreik of the Islamic Health Society that was taking part in rescue operations in the area. He said four people were killed.

State-run National News Agency also reported that four people, two women, a man and a child were killed.

Zreik told The Associated Press that two women and a boy were pulled out from under the rubble and rushed to hospital.

A member of the Lebanese Red Cross told the local Al-Jadeed TV at the scene that 17 people are still believed to be under the rubble.

A building collapsed in the same area earlier this month but no one was hurt as people were evacuated out of concerns it was not considered safe.

Lebanon hosts some 805,000 United Nations-registered Syrian refugees, but officials estimate the actual number is far higher: between 1.5 million and 2 million.

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