September 29, 2008

Al-Manar Reports Lebanese, Arab, Foreign Condemnation of Tripoli Blast

Text of report in English by Lebanese Hezbollah Al-Manar TV website on 29 September

[Report by Hussein Assi: "Lebanon, World Condemn Tripoli Blast, Call for Unity."]

Once again, the Lebanese army pays the price from the northern city of Tripoli... The Lebanese army said in a statement that the "hands of treachery have stretched again to the military institution to target security and stability in this country as well as reconciliation among the constituents of a unified society through a terror act that shook the southern entrance of Tripoli this morning. A bomb exploded in one of the parked cars in the Bahsas area and hit an army bus as well as civil cars, leaving behind a number of martyrs and injured among soldiers and civilians."

The Lebanese were hoping that the "reconciliations season" would make them enjoy the Fitr holiday.

Minutes after the blast, politicians, kings, heads of states in Lebanon and abroad condemned the attack as a blow to the military institution and called for unity to face the plot against the country.

In this context, President Michel Sulayman called on the people of Lebanon to unite and for their leaders to make further efforts to bring about reconciliation. Suleiman said that "the terrorism, which targeted military officers, will encourage the people to forge reconciliations, and support the national dialogue to define defence strategy."

Parliament Speaker Nabih Birri condemned the explosion, saying that it was an act of revenge against the army which, he said, was "the spine of our country," and had been strengthening the country. He also condemned the "terrorism that was targeting reconciliations and national dialogue" and called on all state institutions to treat an increase in military equipment and the number of soldiers as a national priority.

Prime Minister Fu'ad al-Sanyurah called for waiting for the investigation to be completed before accusing anyone. "I do not think that this explosion is related to Damascus bombing, nor to the Syrian military reinforcements on the northern borders," he said.

Future MP Sa'ad Hariri denounced the attack, saying that it was clearly aimed at efforts to stabilize the country, which veered dangerously close to renewed civil war in May. "This new terrorist attack against the army shows that Lebanon is still being targeted by parties that don't wish for this country to handle its own affairs and to enjoy security and stability," he said in a statement.

The head of the Democratic Gathering MP Walid Jumblatt called for providing the army and security forces with adequate equipment, no matter where it came from, in order to prevent further incidents. He said that national security must be a priority.

For his part, Former PM Omar Karami condemned the blast, saying that targeting the army was tantamount to targeting the civil peace. He called on security forces to intensify their efforts to preserve security and stability in Lebanon.

Former President Emile Lahud denounced, in his turn, the blast, noting that the same hands of treachery that stretched to our youth in Tripoli today have earlier stretched to innocent people in Damascus. "Terrorism related to extremism constitutes a danger to Lebanon and the region," he added.

Mufti of the Lebanese Republic Mohamad Rashid Kabbani condemned the blast saying that the crime targeted all Lebanese as well as the successful reconciliations. He said that the unity of Lebanese was the strongest response to the crime.

The head of "Islamic Labour" Front Fathi Yakan also denounced the attack and said that there were a lot of people who feel hurt by the reconciliations prevailing in the political scene.

Former Minister Najib Mikati said that the explosion was "a terrorist and criminal act against the army, who has been targeted since the Nahr al-Bared events." He added that the August 13 bus bombing in the northern city and Monday's were related, but that "what is taking place has no relation with neither the reconciliation that occurred in Tripoli nor other reconciliations."

For his part, Economy and Trade Minister Muhammad Safadi condemned the blast, saying that it aims to leave Lebanon wide open on the security level and to destroy the image of the military institution, which succeeded in preserving security, and strengthening stability and peace in Tripoli.

Lebanese Forces chief Samir Ja'ja called on the people of Lebanon to support the state and resist efforts to undermine it, adding that it was the army that was preserving security and building the country. Geagea also called on security and military institutions to make every effort to find those responsible for the explosion and bring them to justice.

Internationally, French President Nicolas Sarkozy was the first to condemn the attack as "awful and cowardly." He also declared solidarity with Lebanon as well as security authorities in their war against terror.

Britain "utterly condemned" the bomb attack in Tripoli. "There is no justification for terrorist attacks", the Foreign Office said. "These events appear designed to destabilize Lebanon. Those responsible are criminals. They are no friends of Lebanon or the Lebanese people", it added.

Spain also condemned the "terrorist attack" that killed four soldiers in the restive northern Lebanese city of Tripoli. Madrid is "convinced that this new attack will not achieve its objective, which is to undermine Lebanon's democratic institutions, national dialogue and reconciliation among all Lebanese," the foreign ministry said in a statement.

Arab League Secretary General Amr Musa condemned the explosion in Tripoli, calling it a "criminal attack." In a statement issued on Monday, Mussa called on Lebanon's leaders to continue pursuing national reconciliation, and to commit to the agreements reached at Doha Agreement last May in order to thwart those trying to spread chaos and division.

Syria also denounced vehemently the attack, declaring its complete solidarity with Lebanon. Syrian National Agency (SNA) quoted an official media source as declaring the Syrian sympathy and solidarity with Lebanon against all sides that are targeting its security.

Jordan's King Abdallah II condemned, in his turn, the Tripoli bombing, stressing his support to Lebanon. He hoped the country would overcome the repercussions of the incident, and achieve national consensus.

Originally published by Al-Manar Television website, Beirut, in English 29 Sep 08.

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