Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and Security Council members today voiced outrage at yet another terrorist attack in Lebanon – this time a car bombing in Beirut that killed a senior member of the country’s armed forces and at least one of his bodyguards.
Media reports say General Francois el-Hajj and his bodyguard died after the car in which they were travelling was destroyed when a bomb detonated in the eastern suburbs of Beirut this morning.
“The Secretary-General strongly condemns this act of violence and terror on the Lebanese Armed Forces, a symbol of Lebanon’s sovereignty,” his spokesperson said in a statement, noting that Mr. Ban also extended his condolences to the families of those killed, the armed forces and the Government.
“He reiterates his position that this and previous attacks aimed at undermining Lebanon’s sovereignty are unacceptable. It is imperative that the perpetrators of this heinous crime are brought to justice.”
The bombing has taken place at a time of deep political tensions in Lebanon, where planned presidential elections have had to be postponed many times in recent months.
Today’s statement from Mr. Ban’s spokesperson called on the Lebanese to show “calm and restraint at this critical juncture in their history. Their political leaders must exert every possible effort to resolve differences and arrive at a solution for an immediate presidential election, without conditionality, in accordance with constitutional rules.”
In its own presidential statement, read out by Ambassador Marcello Spatafora of Italy, the Security Council echoed Mr. Ban’s remarks and also called for the presidential poll to be held without delay, within constitutional procedures, and free of foreign interference.
Council members condemned the bombing and what they described as “all targeted assassinations” in Lebanon, where there has been a series of deadly bombings against politicians and other prominent figures in recent years.
The presidential statement demanded “an immediate end to the use of intimidation and violence against the representatives of the Lebanese people and institutions.”
It also reiterated its support for the establishment of the Special Tribunal, which is being set up to try the alleged perpetrators of the February 2005 assassination – in another massive car bombing – of the former Lebanese prime minister Rafiq Hariri. Another 22 people were killed in that attack.