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Jumblatt: Lebanon now in ‘episode of madness’

People gather near charred cars at the site of an explosion in Haret Hreik, Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2014. (The Daily Star/Hasan Shaaban)

BEIRUT: Progressive Socialist Party leader MP Walid Jumblatt warned Tuesday Lebanon would witness more bomb attacks by takfiri groups, after a bombing in a pro-Hezbollah suburb of Beirut, as Lebanese and foreign officials joined in condemning the deadly morning attack.

“Lebanon has entered an episode of madness. Takfiri [militants] have embarked on terrorism,” Jumblatt said, warning that radical Sunni Islamists had initiated a bombing campaign.

He stressed that cohesion of security agencies was required more than ever.

“Unity among security [agencies] is more important than unity in government,” he said.

Hezbollah MP Ali Ammar, speaking at the site of Tuesday’s explosion, said the “terrorist attack” in Haret Hreik revealed the two faces of Israel.

“The Israeli enemy has another face: the takfiri face that is trying to undermine the resistance and coexistence,” he said, vowing that his party would “remain a resistance through the ‘resistance, Army and people’ tripartite equation.”

Tuesday’s was the fourth since July 2013 to target the southern suburbs of Beirut. The attacks are widely seen as retaliation for Hezbollah’s military involvement in neighboring Syria. The Haret Hreik bombing was claimed by Nusra Front in Lebanon, an Al-Qaeda offshoot.

The U.S. Embassy in Beirut denounced the attack.

“Following news of explosion in Haret Hreik, we offer our condolences to the victims and their families. We condemn all forms of terror in Lebanon,” the U.S. Embassy said on its Twitter feed.

U.N. Special Coordinator for Lebanon Derek Plumbly condemned the explosion as a "deeply disturbing act of indiscriminate terror.”

“Such acts cannot be justified, and are contrary to the interests of all Lebanese,” Plumbly said in a statement.

He called on all Lebanese “to come together” and encouraged “all steps that help reinforce national unity at this difficult time, including the recent momentum to form a new government.”

Plumbly also encouraged support for Lebanon’s state institutions, including the Army and security forces “as the best way to safeguard the country’s security and stability.”

Amal Movement MP Yassin Jaber said the objective of the attack was to torpedo efforts at forming an all-embracing government.

"This explosion targeted recent efforts for the formation of an inclusive national unity government,” Jaber said in a statement.

MP Fouad Siniora, the head of the Future Movement, also condemned the blast, urging the various Lebanese political parties to respect the policy of disassociation from the Syrian war in order to “spare Lebanon the woes.”

Siniora also called on the Lebanese to take action to put an end to acts of terror.

Prime Minister-designate Tammam Salam called for vigilance in the wake of the wave of bombings.

“The killers’ insistence on repeating their [crimes] at the same place ... necessitates ultimate awareness and wisdom,” Salam said.

He said terrorism should be confronted by “strengthening the internal front at the political and security levels.”

Grand Mufti Sheikh Mohammad Rashid Qabbani also condemned what he described as a “criminal bombing” and said the explosions in Lebanon lately ran contrary to the principles of Islam.

“Islam has nothing to do with such criminal acts; the explosions in Lebanon are against the principles and rules of the Islamic religion,” the mufti said in a statement.

He said the Haret Hreik bombing comes as Lebanese raised their hopes over the formation of a new government that could help protect the country from strife.

“This shows that those targeting the country are not from the rival political sides but outsiders trying to incite one party against the other,” he said.

Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea said offering condolences after each terrorist attack does not help the victims or the country, as he called for action to control the situation along the border.

“The Lebanese government should act immediately without any reluctance to end the security chaos at the border with Syria and prevent fighters from coming into Lebanon and vice versa,” he said.

“This can be done by deploying the Army along the border with the help of the international troops [UNIFIL], in accordance with [UN Security Council] Resolution 1701.”

 

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Summary

Progressive Socialist Party leader MP Walid Jumblatt warned Tuesday Lebanon would witness more bomb attacks by takfiri groups, after a bombing in a pro-Hezbollah suburb of Beirut, as Lebanese and foreign officials joined in condemning the deadly morning attack.

Hezbollah MP Ali Ammar, speaking at the site of Tuesday's explosion, said the "terrorist attack" in Haret Hreik revealed the two faces of Israel.

The Haret Hreik bombing was claimed by Nusra Front in Lebanon, an Al-Qaeda offshoot.

Amal Movement MP Yassin Jaber said the objective of the attack was to torpedo efforts at forming an all-embracing government.

Siniora also called on the Lebanese to take action to put an end to acts of terror.

Grand Mufti Sheikh Mohammad Rashid Qabbani also condemned what he described as a "criminal bombing" and said the explosions in Lebanon lately ran contrary to the principles of Islam.


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