Former Prime Minister Saad Hariri blamed Israel Tuesday for the “terrorist explosion ” that rocked Beirut’s southern suburbs and accused the country of trying to provoke Sunni-Shiite strife in Lebanon.
“[The blast] requires the highest level of awareness and vigilance in the face of dangers that surround the country and the entire region, especially while facing attempts by the Israeli enemy to push [Lebanon] to strife by organizing terrorist attacks, as happened today,” Hariri said in a statement.
“After the terrible criminal scene that Beirut’s southern suburbs witnessed, the Lebanese can only express indignation and condemnation of the crime that targeted one of the most populated neighborhoods,” the statement said.
A car bomb explosion ripped through the Beirut’s southern suburb neighborhood of Bir al-Abed, a pro-Hezbollah area, wounded dozens of people.
“As I strongly condemn the terrorist bombing that harmed innocent civilians, I ask God Almighty to bless the wounded with safety and health,” Hariri said.
Hariri said that the blast should shock Lebanese “to go back to the national consensus on keeping Lebanon away from external conflicts and to avoid slipping into wars that will only inflict further divisions in the country, place national stability at risk and expose Lebanon to the conspiracies of the Israeli enemy.”
The former PM, who heads the Future Movement, urged an investigation into the blast and called on political leaders to shoulder responsibility in addressing the country's deteriorating security situation.
For his part, former Prime Minister Fouad Siniora condemned the blast and warned citizens to “be careful about who is plotting conspiracies and strife in this dangerous stage Lebanon and the region are going through.”
Grand Mufti Mohammad Rashid Qabbani also condemned the explosion and said it aimed at “destabilizing Lebanon's security and the country’s civil peace.”
Separately, Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea condemned the attack and urged the judicial and security authorities to address the matter with “complete seriousness” in order to reveal the perpetrators and punish them as soon as possible.
“The security of the nation and its people comes only through a strong and powerful state that alone handles the security and military mission,” Geagea said in a statement.
Progressive Socialist Party leader MP Walid Jumblatt said he considered the attack as an assault on the entire nation and said that the sharp political divisions between the Lebanese people should come to an end.
“The blast confirms once again that it is not acceptable to carry on the sharp political divisions among the Lebanese,” he said.
“[Such divisions] expose the country to further security incidents and dangers at all levels,” he added.
The Future bloc also condemned the bombing and warned against the Israeli defense minister’s statement that attributed the attack to a Sunni-Shiite conflict.
“The bloc sees that the evil, criminal hand that carried out the crime seeks to shake up the security and provoke citizens against each other and incite the fire of strife in the country,” the parliamentary bloc said in a statement.
Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon described the bombing in the Lebanese capital as a struggle between Sunnis and Shiites.
"There are many explosions in the area. Our borders are calm and that's not a given,” Ya'alon said according to Israel’s Ynetnews.
"We see war seeping from Syria to Lebanon, and we follow what happens in Tripoli and Beirut," he said. "We watch but we don't interfere,” he said.