A car bomb rocked Beirut on Friday, killing a top security official and seven others.
Reports say dozens of people were wounded in the attack, targeting the convoy of Brig. Gen. Wissam al-Hassan.
Brig. Gen. Wissam al-Hassan was the head of the intelligence division of Lebanon’s domestic security forces.
Mr, al-Hassan had just returned earlier Friday morning from Paris, where he was visiting family.
He was in a non-armored car with his driver, who was also among the dead.
According to media report, eight people were killed, including al-Hassan, and 78 wounded.
Today in Washington DC, US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton says the United States condemns in the strongest terms the acts of terrorism that took place in Beirut’s Achrafieh neighborhood today.
“We extend our deepest sympathies to the families and loved ones of those who were killed.” – Ms. Clinton
Ms. Clinton says the assassination of the Brigadier General Wissam al-Hassan, who was a strong defender of Lebanon’s security and its people, is 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 emphasized.
“We call on all parties to exercise restraint and respect for Lebanon’s stability and security.” – Ms. Clinton
Ms. Clinton underlined that the United States remains committed to an independent, sovereign, and stable Lebanon.
The US government will continue to work with its partners to preserve Lebanon’s security and stability.
Reports say the target of the attack was Major General Wissam al-Hassan, head of the police intelligence unit. Mr. Al-hassan was reportedly a senior figure closely linked with the anti-Assad camp in Lebanon.
Speculation has surfaced that Mr. Hassan’s investigation implicating Syria and its ally Hezbollah, in the killing of the former prime minister Rafik al-Hariri, led to his death.
On February 14, 2005, killers assassinated former Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri and 22 others with a car bomb in downtown Beirut. This attack represented an attempt to silence not only Hariri, but all those voices in Lebanon calling out for independence and sovereignty.
However, that tragic day had the opposite effect. The Cedar Revolution that followed amplified the voices of those seeking justice and democracy, culminating in Syria’s withdrawal from Lebanon. Undeterred by continuing political violence, these forces have bravely continued their fight for a free and independent Lebanese state.