An al-Qaeda-linked group in Lebanon claimed responsibility for the attack that killed 23 people, including an Iranian cultural attaché and injured 146.
The Abdullah Azzam Brigades group said it will continue the attacks until the Iranian-backed Shi`ite group Hezbollah withdraws its fighters from the Syrian civil war.
Caretaker PM Mikati
“We condemn this cowardly terrorist act which is aimed at inciting tensions in Lebanon and using the country as an arena to send political messages,” caretaker Prime Minister Najib Mikati said in response to the attack
Mikati also called on the Lebanese to exercise self-restraint given the difficult situation in the country.
Speaker Nabih Berri condemned the attack which he described as an attempt to deepen the divide between the Lebanese and to target the country’s unity.
“This crime not only targets the embassy but all of Lebanon and the Lebanese,” Berri said, according National News Agency reported.
“This criminal attack targets Lebanon’s unity and it is an exposed attempt to further deepen the gap between the Lebanese,” he added.
The attack, Berri said, would not intimidate the Lebanese.
Berri also sent letters of condolences to Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and Speaker Ali Larijani among other Iranian officials in which he condemned the attack.
Prime Minister-designate Tammam Salam also commented on the bombings and said they were meant to serve as a blow to stability and national unity.
“All Lebanese officials are asked to contribute to reducing the degree of tensions in the country by toning down political rhetoric and distancing Lebanon from anything that could destabilize the country,” Salam said in a statement.
Former Lebanese Prime Minister and Future Movement leader MP Saad Hariri also condemned the attack, saying it should prompt an end to any military interference in Syria.
“This terrorist attack is condemned on all political and ethical standards,” Hariri said in a statement.
“[It] should be a motive to distance Lebanon from the raging fires around it and to spare the Lebanese people the dangers of military interference in the Syrian crisis,” he added.
Hariri also called on all parties to resort to reason during these “difficult times.”
Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea on Tuesday also condemned the explosions and offered his condolences .
“We offer our warmest condolences to the relatives of the victims of the criminal explosions that took place in Beirut’s Bir Hassan area, and we wish a speedy recovery for the wounded,” Geagea said in a statement.
Progressive Socialist Party leader MP Walid Jumblatt also condemned the twin explosions and called for the resumption of national dialogue.
“It is [urgently] required that we keep the highest levels of patriotic solidarity, and return immediately to a national dialogue among Lebanese [parties] in order to mediate our differences,” Jumblatt said in a statement.
President Michel Suleiman will cut his visit to Kuwait short as aresult of the explosions and return to Beirut after giving Lebanon’s speech at the Arab-African summit there, MTV reported. Suleiman arrived in Kuwait yesterday accompanied by a Lebanese delegation to take part in the third Africa-Arab Summit.
Hezbollah and Iran blame Israel
Tehran accused Israel of carrying out the deadly double blasts ,according to media reports.
The bombings were “an inhuman crime and spiteful act done by Zionists and their mercenaries,” Foreign Ministry spokesperson Marzieh Afkham said in remarks carried by the official IRNA news agency.
Similarly the head of Hezbollah’s parliamentary bloc, MP Mohammad Raad, on Tuesday accused Israel of being behind the twin explosions.
“The origin of this sinful and criminal… terrorist act is clear, as the plotting and implementation [of the attack] has a spiteful and aggressive style, which mirrors the racist pattern of the Israeli enemy,” National News Agency quoted the Hezbollah official as saying.
Raad claimed that the objective of the attacks was to “perpetuate a [series of] killings and vandalism, cause chaos, threaten national unity and undermine stability” in the country.
Syria too strongly condemned the twin bomb blasts
“The Syrian government firmly condemns the terrorist attack carried out near the Iranian embassy in Beirut,” state television said.
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