Lebanon PM calls for national unity after Beirut blast

Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati ([PressTV] file photo)

October 20, 2012

Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati has called for national unity as the opposition March 14 Coalition demands his resignation over Beirut’s deadly car bomb attack.

Makati said on Saturday he has offered his resignation to President Michel Suleiman, but it has been rejected.

The premier’s move came after a deadly bomb attack in the capital on Friday that killed eight people, including General Wissam al-Hassan, the intelligence chief of Lebanon’s Internal Security Forces. Scores of others were also wounded.

Lebanese protesters took to the streets shortly after the explosion to condemn Hassan’s assassination.

On Friday, Lebanon’s opposition March 14 bloc said it held Prime Minister Mikati responsible for the attack and called on his government to resign.

“This government must go, and the prime minister is asked to present his resignation,” the group said in a statement.

Lebanon’s powerful resistance movement Hezbollah also condemned the attack, describing it as “an attempt to destabilize Lebanon and national unity.”

The explosion occurred in Beirut’s eastern Ashrafiya district, which is a predominantly Christian district, and near the headquarters of the Phalange, a Maronite Christian party, during the rush hour as parents were picking up their children from school. Several buildings were damaged and many cars were set on fire as a result of the blast.

It was the first major bomb attack in Beirut since 2008. No group has claimed responsibility for the attack. Lebanese Premier Mikati said the government was trying to identify the perpetrators and that they would be punished.


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