The United States will send a Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) team to help Lebanon probe the Beirut car bombing that killed the country’s Internal Security Forces (ISF) Chief Brigadier General Wissam Al-Hassan.
But U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton stressed Washington’s support for Lebanon’s sovereignty, in a phone call with Prime Minister Najib Mikati, State Department spokesman Mark Toner said.
“There is going to be an FBI team headed to Lebanon to help them with their investigation. But we’ll certainly wait for the results of that investigation” before deciding any further response, Toner told reporters, according to AFP.
Describing Clinton’s conversation with Mikati, he said “she was very, very clear in stressing our support for Lebanon’s sovereignty” and also “stressed the importance of all political leaders working together.”
He did not say whether the FBI team had already arrived in Lebanon, where there have been violent protests since Friday, when ISF Intelligence Chief Wissam Al-Hassan died in the Beirut bombing.
“It’s a very sensitive time,” he added, saying: “There’s an investigation under way, and we're going to look to the results of that investigation. And we also would urge calm.”
On Friday, the United States condemned the blast as a terrorist strike. And on Sunday, Clinton underscored “the United States’ firm commitment to Lebanon’s stability, independence, sovereignty and security.”
Ambassadors from the United States, China, Russia, Britain and France met Suleiman on Monday and appealed to Lebanese leaders to resolve the situation peacefully.
In the Meantime, Internal Security Forces Director General Ashraf Rifi appointed Colonel Imad Othman as Head of ISF Information Branch, National News Agency (NNA) reported on Sunday.
NNA added that Rifi consulted with Interior Minister Marwan Charbel before appointing Othman
Source: AFP; Al Arabiya; NNA – Photo: Reuters