Two explosions targeting the Iranian embassy hit the Lebanese capital Beirut killing 23 people and damaging buildings around the embassy compound.

The cultural attaché with the embassy, Ebrahim Ansari, is among the dead.

Lebanese television stations said at least 146 people were wounded.

Fires engulfed cars and facades of some buildings were torn off and carpets of shattered glass from nearby buildings covered the bloodied streets.

The embassy's well-fortified building itself suffered relatively minor damage.

Trees in the area were uprooted by the force of the blasts.

Soldiers, firefighters and paramedics all rushed to the scene to evacuate the wounded.

The official Lebanese news agency said one of the bombs appeared to be a suicide attack.

Footage from security cameras showed a man rushing towards the outer wall of the embassy in Beirut before blowing himself up.

Lebanese officials who watched the videos said the second explosion was caused by a car bomb parked two buildings away from the embassy. 

The al-Qaeda-linked Abdullah Azzam Brigade claimed responsibility for the attack.

In a Twitter post, Sheikh Sirajeddine Zuraiqat, the religious guide of the Abdullah Azzam Brigades, said the group had carried out the attack.