BEIRUT: Officials flocked to offer condemnations and condolences over a suicide attacks that targeted a police checkpoint in Dahr al-Baidar Friday morning.
“[The attack] was aimed at tightening the screws on the security and safety of the Lebanese, and [strived to] take the country down the destructive path overtaking the region,” Hariri said.
The head of the March 14 coalition called on all Lebanese, irrespective of sect, to employ the highest degree of caution, urging citizens to maintain national unity in the face of conspiracies aimed at sparking sectarian feuds in the region.
“Sending young men in to battle, whether internally or externally, will only lead to more divisions and will invite extreme sectarian reactions,” Hariri said.
Hariri also offered condolences to those killed in the blast and hailed security forces for taking the necessary measures to ensure the safety and security of the country.
The March 14 bloc released a statement saying that “we [14 march] have repeatedly warned Hezbollah that interference in Syria would invite terrorism into Lebanon,” stressing its demands for the immediate withdrawal of the resistance party’s forces from the civil war in Syria.
Hezbollah condemned the attacks saying that “the hand of terrorism is back to Lebanon.” The released statement pointed out that the attack targeted Lebanon’s safety, security and stability, irrespective of the terrorist’s intended aim or the conspiracy behind it.
"Everyone is in the same trench to confront terrorism," Industry Minister Hussein Hajj Hassan, from Hezbollah's Loyalty to the Resistance parliamentary bloc, said in a television interview, pointing out that "everyone is against terrorism, and we are in a moment that unites political views.”
Justice Minister Ashraf Rifi said "radical solutions lie in the election of the president of the republic, the withdrawal of Hezbollah from Syria and the closure of our borders in the face of [terrorist] winds in the region."
Change and Reform bloc leader Gen. Michel Aoun urged the Lebanese to remain calm and maintain solidarity, stressing the importance of cooperating with the security forces "to strike terror and prevent [extremists] from achieving their goals."
The head of the Lebanese Forces, Samir Geagea, denounced the bombing, putting it in the context of the conflict washing over the region.
He said "the region is boiling and Lebanon is not an island isolated from the ocean," stressing the need to “protect constitutional institutions, including the presidency of the republic, Parliament and the government, and to ensure good performance."
Geagea called on MPs who are boycotting parliamentary sessions to reconsider and participate in the presidential election.
United Nations Special Coordinator for Lebanon Derek Plumbly stressed the “importance of the work that the Army and security forces were carrying out to sustain the calm that has prevailed in Lebanon recently," adding that the U.N. would maintain solidarity with Lebanon’s government and people in standing up to the threat of terrorism.
The U.S. Embassy in Lebanon condemned the attack, noting "the United States will continue to stand with Lebanon [in its fight] against terrorism."
The French Embassy announced its support for local institutions and forces responsible for security in Lebanon. It also called on French citizens in Lebanon to exercise caution today, especially after the bombing, urging them to stay in their houses.
Security chief Maj. Gen. Abbas Ibrahim narrowly escaped the suicide car bombing that killed an ISF officer and wounded 32 people at a Lebanese police checkpoint on the Beirut-Damascus highway in the Bekaa Valley.
Friday morning, security forces also arrested a 17 terrorist suspects in Hamra, after raiding the Napoleon Hotel and other establishments in the west Beirut commercial district.