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France says Syria 'likely' involved in Beirut bombing

Latest update : 2012-10-21

France’s Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius on Sunday said that it was likely that the bomb attack that killed eight people including a top security official in Beirut on Friday was “an extension of the Syrian tragedy.”

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said Sunday that Syria was probably involved in a Beirut car bombing that killed a top anti-Damascus security official.

"It is likely.... Everything indicates that this is an extension of the Syrian tragedy," Fabius told French television, accusing Syrian President Bashar al-Assad of spreading his country's conflict beyond its borders.

"I wish to express how much we condemn this dreadful attack, how much we are in solidarity with the Lebanese people and government," Fabius said.

He called Assad a "manipulator" who wanted to spread the "contagion to Turkey, Jordan and Lebanon."

Friday's bombing killed at least eight people, including Lebanese general Wissam al-Hassan of the Internal Security Forces (ISF), a prominent figure opposed to Assad.

The French foreign minister also said Lebanon's powerful Shiite movement Hezbollah, which is closely allied to Assad's regime, was involved in the Syrian unrest.

"Hezbollah is in the Lebanese government and we don't see much of their role," he said. "But their presence in the conflict has been apparent in the past few days, such as the drone which overflew Israel."

On October 6, a drone sent by Hezbollah managed to enter Israeli air space before being shot down near a nuclear reactor.

Fabius said that Hezbollah, which is backed by Iran, wanted to "demonstrate more clearly" their support for Assad's regime, adding: "We cannot accept that."

Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah had boasted that his group sent the sophisticated unmanned drone and said the device was built by the Jewish state's arch-foe Iran.

Date created : 2012-10-21

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