BEIRUT: Lebanese officials condemned Thursday as a “terrorist” act a car bomb that ripped through northeast Lebanon earlier during the day killing five people and wounding scores.
President Michel Sleiman condemned the “terrorist bombing” that targeted Hermel and called for fortifying Lebanon against terrorist groups.
“Strengthening Lebanon against these terrorist groups requires solidarity between the leaders and the people and requires the swift formation of a national unity Cabinet that can confront these challenges and dangers,” the president said in a statement.
The Future bloc also condemned the “terrorist crime” in Hermel and said the bombing is “a favor for the enemies of Lebanon who seek to damage stability and co-existence” in the country.
The bloc also called for punishing those behind the blast and for distancing Lebanon from the regional turmoil.
“The true national political activity is done through resisting sliding the country into the conflicts surrounding it and closing the doors of Lebanon in the face of dangers and evils,” the bloc said.
Caretaker Prime Minister Najib Mikati voiced his condemnation in a statement saying such “terrorist acts carry evil for the country and aim at tampering with the lives and possessions of the Lebanese.”
“Let us all unite and keep the hand of evil off Lebanon,” he said.
Prime Minister-designate Tammam Salam also condemned the blast as a “shameful terrorist act” and called for punishing the perpetrators.
“The hand of terrorism extends once again to a dear area in Lebanon to kill innocent civilians as part of a strife scheme to ruin the country’s security and stability,” Salam said.
“I call on the security forces to exhaust all efforts to find the perpetrators and punish them.”
Salam also said that resolving the conundrum of recent blasts in the country should be done through “improving the political atmospheres and enhancing national communication [between political rivals].”
Grand Mufti Sheikh Mohammad Rashid Qabbani also described the explosion as a “criminal act” and called on the Lebanese to remain unified to confront bombings in the country.
“The wisdom and unity of the Lebanese [should be] the real response to the series of explosions aimed at dividing their country,” the mufti said.
On his part, Development and Liberation bloc MP Qassem Hashem said that the Lebanese parties should form a consensual Cabinet “to confront terrorism that is vehemently attacking the country.”
The blast that ripped through a residential and commercial square in Hermel’s center killed five people and wounded 42 wounded.