Following the assassination of former Lebanese Finance Minister Mohammed Chatah, a leading critic of Syrian
President Bashar Assad's
regime, in Beirut, a security discussion was held in the Presidential Palace near the Lebanese capital Saturday morning.
The head of Lebanon's transitional government Najib Mikati called upon all factions in the country to work together in order to maintain security.
The attack Friday claimed the lives of six people including Chatah – who also opposed Hezbollah
– and his driver, and injured more than 70 people. The blast occurred less than a month before the beginning of the murder trial of Rafic Hariri, who was assassinated in the same manner – a car bomb in Beirut – in 2005.
Mikati said that Lebanon
has been suffering from security instability for years, due to sectarian strife within the country. "The Lebanese people have had enough," he said, and called for a unity government in Lebanon. "This is not the time for political battles and accusations," he said. "A dialogue is needed with everyone in order to bring the crisis to an end. Renewal of trust between all sides is the first priority."
The transitional prime minister added that the car bomb attack harms the country's stability. He also spoke of the deceased minister: "He was an intellectual." The transitional prime minister expressed his condolences to the families of those who were murdered in the blast.
Chatah himself was on his way to a meeting in the Hariri family residence when the violent blast took his life.
Car blast in Beirut, Friday (Photo: AP)
Attack claimed lives of at least 6 people (Photo: AP) Former Lebanese Minister Chatah, killed in Beirut attack (Photo: EPA)
Saad Hariri, head of Al-Mustaqbal movement and former prime minister, pointed his finger, following the assassination of his father, at Hezbollah. "The murderer of Mohammed Chatah is the one who murdered Rafic Hariri," he was quoting as saying in Lebanese media. "These are the same people who evaded standing before the international court. This is a new terror attack against us."
Member of Parliament Marwan Hamadeh, affiliated with the March 14 camp who opposes Hezbollah, was even more blatant with his remarks: "We tell former Minister Chatah that we will act according to his will and will not allow Hezbollah to rule Lebanon. Hezbollah will not come to power in Lebanon, whatever the attempts to do through blood and destruction may be." According to Hamadeh, "Chata was one of the first people to warn against Hezbollah's policies."
Fouad Siniora, Lebanon's former prime minister who took part in the meeting Saturday morning, also demanded that this event will be investigated by the International Court of Justice: "Lebanon will not die and will not surrender. We all know who the murderer of Chatah is; it is the same one who hurts the citizens of Syria. This criminal hurts us every day, but he will not win."
A key member of the Syrian opposition has accused the Damascus regime and its allies Iran
and Hezbollah of being behind a bomb attack Friday
"The murderers... are the same ones that kill and continue to kill Syrians in Qusayr, Qalamoun, Ghouta, Aleppo, Homs and Idlib," said the Syrian National Council (SNC), the largest member of the umbrella National Coalition opposition grouping.
"They are undoubtedly the alliance between the Iranian and Syrian regimes and their agents in Lebanon led by the sectarian and fanatical militia Hezbollah," the SNC said in a statement issued overnight.
"This bloody alliance... proves every day that it is the main source of terrorism and extremism which threatens the security and stability of the region," said the SNC.
AFP contributed to this report