Lebanese security officials have reported an explosion at a hotel in central Beirut during a botched security raid.

The alleged suspect blew himself up in his room on Wednesday at the Duroy Hotel, sending flames and a dark cloud of black smoke billowing out of the building's windows, according to witness reports.

Lebanon's Interior Ministry said the suicide bomber, a Saudi national, was killed in the blast and a second was apprehended by security personnel.

"General security was conducting a raid and were able to arrest one suspect, while another blew himself up," Saqr Saqr, Lebanon's military prosecutor, told Associated Press news agency.

Al Jazeera's Rula Amin, reporting from Beirut, said the attack occurred in an area frequented by locals and foreigners close to the embassy of Saudi Arabia.

"The suicide bomber carried out the attack when security forces tried to apprehend him," she said.

An official in the general security department said the raid was part of ongoing efforts to pursue suspected terrorists in Lebanon. 

The bombing is the latest in a string of attacks and security scares in Lebanon over the past week that have sparked fears of renewed violence in a country that has been deeply affected by the civil war in neighbouring Syria.

On Monday, a suicide bomber blew himself up, killing one person and wounding 20, near a checkpoint in a primarily Shia neighbourhood where Hezbollah has a strong presence.

An al-Qaeda-linked group, the Abdullah Azzam Brigades, has warned that such attacks will continue as long as Hezbollah takes part in Syria's civil war alongside President Bashar al-Assad's military.

Syria's civil war has spilled into neighbouring Lebanon on numerous occasions and inflamed sectarian tensions.

Source: Al Jazeera and agencies