US condemns car bombing in Beirut

Posted at 10/20/12 3:25 PM

WASHINGTON – The United States condemned Friday's deadly car bombing in Beirut that killed a top security official linked to the anti-Syrian camp in Lebanon and seven others, calling it terrorism.

"The United States condemns in the strongest terms the acts of terrorism that took place in Beirut's Achrafieh neighborhood today," Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said in a statement. "We extend our deepest sympathies to the families and loved ones of those who were killed."

Clinton called the assassination General Wissam al-Hassan, the intelligence chief of Lebanon's Internal Security Forces, a "dangerous sign that there are those who continue to seek to undermine Lebanon's stability."

"Lebanon must close the chapter of its past and bring an end to impunity for political assassinations and other politically motivated violence," she said. "We call on all parties to exercise restraint and respect for Lebanon's stability and security."

"The United States remains committed to an independent, sovereign, and stable Lebanon. We will continue to work with our partners to preserve Lebanon's security and stability."

Earlier, National Security Council spokesman Tommy Vietor also condemned the "terrorist attack" and said there was "no justification for using assassination as a political tool."

"Lebanon's security and stability are vital both for the Lebanese people and their neighbors," Vietor said, adding that Washington would stand by Beirut as it works "to bring those responsible for this barbaric attack to justice."

His comments were preceded by State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland, who said: "There is no justification for such violence."

Nuland said the United States did not know who the perpetrators were but that all US embassy staff were accounted for and there were no immediate reports of Americans being injured.

The rush-hour bombing killed at least eight people and wounded 86 more, Lebanese officials said.

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