Lebanese PM Offers Resignation Following Attack

Posted October 20th, 2012 at 9:00 am (UTC-5)
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Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati says he offered to resign in the wake of a massive car bombing on Friday that killed the police intelligence chief, but the country's president asked him to stay.

Prime Minister Mikati said Saturday that President Michel Suleiman had asked him to remain in his position for a “period of time.” The prime minister said he agreed to stay in the “national interest.”

On Friday, opposition Future Movement secretary general Ahmad Hariri urged the prime minister and the government to resign immediately after the car bombing killed chief of police intelligence Wissam al-Hassan and seven others. The secretary general blamed the prime minister for the attack.

Hassan had led an investigation into a recent bomb plot that has resulted in the arrest of a pro-Syrian Lebanese politician. He also led a probe that implicated Syria and Hezbollah in the killing of former prime minister Rafik Hariri.

No one has claimed responsibility for the Friday bombing in Beirut but Lebanese media reports said Hassan was targeted in the attack.

Prime Minister Mikati commented after an emergency Cabinet meeting on Saturday. He also said Friday's bombing had links to the anti-government unrest in neighboring Syria.

Demonstrators in Lebanon have closed roads around the country to protest the bombing. The government has declared Saturday a national day of mourning as a result of the attack, which also left more than 80 people wounded.

Lebanon has seen a recent increase in violence related to the bloody Syrian civil war that has spilled over the border.