French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe and the previous prime minister of Lebanon have both pointed at Syria for last week’s bombing attack on UN peacekeepers in Lebanon. Juppe, speaking with French newspaper Le Monde, said that he does not have any proof of Syrian involvement, but nonetheless said Damascus “probably” was behind the attack—especially considering Syria’s links to the Lebanese Hezbollah terror group.
A press statement on the website for the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) said that five peacekeepers were injured on Friday when an explosion targeted a UNIFIL vehicle. The injured were treated on site and later evacuated for additional treatment.
UNIFIL Force Commander Major-General Alberto Asarta Cuevas said in the statement that UNIFIL is investigating the incident with the Lebanese Army. “It is imperative that the perpetrators of this attack are identified and brought to justice,” said Cuevas.
Former Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri gave his own opinion on Twitter. Hariri called the attack on Saturday “another #syrian message from Bashar,” referring to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
The brutal crackdown on protesters in Syria by the Assad regime has come under international condemnation, including a call for sanctions from the Arab League. Friday’s attack on UNIFIL is the third bombing targeting peacekeepers this year, according to the UN group.
In addition to condemnations from the French and the United States, the Lebanese cabinet on Friday also added their voice, according to the website for Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati.
The website said that Lebanese Information Minister Walid Daouk told reporters Mikati believes the attack was an attempt to harm UNIFIL’s work and try to push them out of the country. Mikati said neither the stability of Lebanon nor the efforts of the UN group would be shaken by the bombing. The current Lebanese government is influenced by Hezbollah.
The US did not mention the Lebanese terror group by name in their statement responding to the attack, but did call for the disarmament of all armed groups besides the Lebanese military—as required by the UN.
A statement released by the US State Department said, “We call on the Lebanese government to immediately investigate and bring those responsible to account for this reprehensible attack. We again strongly underscore the need for Lebanon to exercise full sovereignty over its territory.”
(By Joshua Spurlock, www.themideastupdate.com, December 11, 2011)