Reaction to the Beirut Hezbollah stronghold blast


beir el -abed blast 070913 -3The blast that rocked the stronghold of the Shiite militant Hezbollah group south of the Lebanese capital, Beirut on Tuesday the first day of Ramadan for the Shiites was widely condemned by the Lebanese and the international community. The blast which was caused by a car bomb set several cars on fire and wounded dozens of people security officials said.

Caretaker Health Minister said 53 people were wounded in the Bir el-Abed blast. But 41 of them were discharged and the rest were being treated for non serious injuries.

US Ambassador to Lebanon Maura Connelly condemned on Tuesday the bombing .

“Connelly strongly condemns today’s bombing in the Bir el-Abed neighborhood of Beirut, which tragically occurred on the eve of the holy month of Ramadan,” a statement issued by the US Embassy in Lebanon said.

“ Connelly extends the United States’ deepest sympathies and concern for those reportedly wounded or killed in today’s attack,” the statement added.

The US envoy also voiced Washington’s “condemnation in the strongest terms of any violence in Lebanon and calls for all parties to exercise calm, constraint, and respect for Lebanon’s security and stability.”

France also strongly condemned the Bir el-Abed blast and called on the Lebanese to maintain national unity and avoid violent reactions.

Here at home, President Michel Suleiman was one of the first leaders to condemn the blast: “It should prompt the Lebanese people to end their differences, return to dialogue, and commit to the Baabda Declaration.” He said.

Former PM Saad Hariri condemned also the explosion : “The incident forces us to consolidate national consensus and distance the country from any foreign conflict.”

PM-designate Tammam Salam also condemned the Bir el-Abed blast: “It is an attempt to create strife in Lebanon”, he said.

Grand Mufti Sheikh Mohammed Rashid Qabbani , the highest ranking Muslim Sunni authoriity in Lebanon described Bir el-Abed blast as a “criminal act” that aims at destabilizing the country’s security and stability.

MP Bahia Hariri, sister of the slan PM Rafik Hariri commented by saying: ” We should embrace the state, its institutions and its role, which is the only security element for all the Lebanese.”

Speaker Nabih Berri, a close ally of Hezbollah also condemned the blast: ” Bir al-Abed neighborhood’s blast aims at dividing the Lebanese, which requires us all to be aware of the plot.”, He said.

MP Sami Gemayel a key mmeber of the Phalange party told LBCI: The blast is the result of the involvement of the Lebanese in the Syrian crisis.

The March 14 General Secretariat condemned the attack: “Judicial and security authorities should take the necessary measures to reveal the culprits responsible for the blast.” A statement said.

Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea condemned the blast:” The security of the nation and its people can only be provided by the strong and capable state”, he stressed.

Several other Lebanese leaders condemned the blast and caled for adhering to the Baabda declaration and not interfereing in the Syrian affairs .

Hezbollah fighters have been helping the the Syrian regime of President Bashar al-Assad in its crackdown against the mostly Sunni rebels seeking to overthrow the regime. The rebels accused Hezbollah of invading Syria and vowed to move the war to Lebanon.

Hundreds of Hezbollah fighers have reportedly been killed in Syria and buried in Lebanon. Ove 100,000 have been killed so far in the Syrian civil war according to activists.