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UN chief calls Lebanon PM after car bombing

UN: Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on Saturday called Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati to express his "strong solidarity" with the Lebanese people after a deadly car bombing in Beirut. "The Secretary-General offered his deepest condolences for the loss of life, and noted he had issued a strong statement on the attack," the UN said in a statement.

The rush-hour bombing in Beirut on Friday killed at least eight people -- including the intelligence chief of Lebanon's Internal Security Forces, General Wissam al-Hassan -- and wounded scores more, Lebanese officials said.

Ban "expressed strong solidarity with the people of Lebanon and commended the prime minister, the government and the president for their handling of the matter," the UN statement said.

On Friday, Ban and the UN Security Council condemned the attack, with the council appealing for national unity and Ban urging "all Lebanese parties not to be provoked by this heinous terrorist act."

Mikati, under intense political flak over the killing, said on Saturday he would stay on after the president said it would be in the national interest.

Lebanon's opposition on Saturday called for a massive anti-Syria mobilization for Sunday's funeral of Hassan, a prominent figure opposed to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Many have blamed the car bombing on Assad's regime.

AFP

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