VATICAN CITY: The Vatican strongly condemned Friday's attack in Beirut that killed an anti-Damascus security official and at least two others.
"The attack in Beirut deserves the strongest condemnation for its absurd murderous violence," Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi said in a statement, adding that the attack was "contrary to efforts and commitments to maintaining peaceful coexistence in Lebanon."
"It is to be hoped that this horrible event will not be an excuse for increased violence," Lombardi said. Instead, "Lebanon should represent, as the pope has said repeatedly, a message of peace and hope for its people and those of the entire region."
The rush-hour bombing claimed the lives of at least three people including the intelligence chief of Lebanon's Internal Security Forces, General Wissam al-Hasan. Another 78 were wounded.
The attack revived fears that Syria's civil war would fan divisions in Lebanon, which is divided over the conflict in the neighbouring state.
It has touched off painful memories of Lebanon's 1975-1990 civil war and the political unrest that has troubled post-war years, much of it linked to Syrian influence in the country.
Pope Benedict XVI, during a visit to Lebanon in September, called on the international community, especially Arab countries, to work to resolve bloody conflicts in the region, notably in Syria.