Terror Attack in Beirut Kills Six
NEW YORK – International News – A car bombing in Beirut today that killed at least six people, including former cabinet minister Mohamed Chatah. There were six others killed and fifty others injured in the terrorist attack. Mr. Chatah, was an adviser to former Prime Minister Saad Hariri. A Sunni Muslem, Chatah was also a staunch critic of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, and of Lebanon’s Shia Hezbollah movement that is backing the Syrian President.
No one has claimed credit for the attack.
Canada Condemns Terror Attack
Canada’s Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird stated, “Canada condemns today’s deplorable car bomb attack in downtown Beirut, which has killed six people, including former finance minister and Sunni Future Movement member Mohamad Chatah, and injured at least 70. On behalf of all Canadians, I wish to express condolences to the families of those killed and a speedy recovery to those who were injured”.
Baird added, “It is with great sadness that I learned that Dr. Chatah was among those who were killed. Dr. Chatah was a strong voice for peace and moderation in Lebanon, whom I had the opportunity to meet on my visit to Lebanon in August 2012. His loss will be deeply felt by peace-loving people in Lebanon and beyond. I extend my deepest sympathies to his family and friends and to the Lebanese people at this difficult time.
United States Secretary of State John Kerry said, “On behalf of President Obama and the United States, I condemn in the strongest possible terms today’s abhorrent terrorist attack and assassination of former Lebanese Cabinet Minister Mohamad Chatah in Beirut”.
Terrible Loss for Lebanon
“This is a terrible loss for Lebanon, the Lebanese people and for the United States. I had the privilege of spending many hours with Chatah during my visits to Beirut as a United States Senator, and I know he was a voice of reason, responsibility and moderation. His presence will be missed, but his vision for a united Lebanon, free from sectarian violence and destabilizing interference, will continue to guide our efforts,” added Kerry.
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, the Security Council and the top United Nations envoy in Lebanon have strongly condemned the car bombing in Beirut today that killed former minister Mohammad Chattah and at least five others, underlining the need to protect the country’s stability in the face of such terrorism and the crisis in neighbouring Syria.
United Nations Sec-Gen Deeply Troubled
“The Secretary-General is deeply troubled by the recurring acts of terrorism in Lebanon which pose a severe threat to the country’s stability and national cohesion,” Mr. Ban’s spokesperson said in a statement that urged all parties to act with restraint and to support the State and its security forces in preventing further attacks.
“He welcomes the efforts of the Lebanese authorities and security forces to address the security challenges and to protect the country from the impact of the crisis in neighbouring Syria,” the spokesman added.
In their press statement today, the 15 members of the Security Council reiterated their unequivocal condemnation of any attempt to destabilize Lebanon through political assassinations and demanded an immediate end to the use of intimidation and violence against political figures.
They stressed the importance for all Lebanese parties to respect the country’s policy of disassociation and to refrain from any involvement in the Syrian crisis, consistent with their commitment in the Baabda Declaration.
The Declaration, issued during a National Dialogue meeting held at the Baabda Presidential Palace in June 2012, calls for keeping Lebanon neutral in the face of regional tensions and crises.
According to a media statement issued Friday, Derek Plumbly, the UN Special Coordinator for Lebanon, said he was “shocked and deeply saddened” by the bombing.
Mr. Plumbly and the Secretary-General conveyed, as did Council members, their condolences to the families of the victims, and praised Mr. Chattah’s contributions to his country.
As finance minister in the government of Prime Minister Saad Hariri and as foreign policy advisor to Prime Minister Fouad Siniora, Mr. Chattah had served as “a tireless voice for tolerance, diversity and moderation,” Mr. Ban said.
Mr. Plumbly described Mr. Chattah as “a good friend and a wise, courageous and patriotic man, who had consistently sought to promote dialogue and Lebanon’s well-being.”