WASHINGTON, Sept. 19 (UPI) -- The White House Wednesday said a Lebanese Parliament member who was killed in a car bombing outside Beirut was "viciously murdered."
"We strongly condemn the assassination of a Lebanese member of Parliament, Antoine Ghanem," said White House spokeswoman Dana Perino. "He was viciously murdered today in Beirut, along with several other innocent persons."
The car bombing in the Sin el-Fil neighborhood outside the Lebanese capital killed six people. The explosion comes several months after Parliament member Walid Eido was killed in a Beirut bombing that killed nine others, and just weeks before Parliament is to meet to determine who will replace President Emile Lahoud.
"Since October 2004, there has been a pattern of political assassinations and attempted assassinations designed to intimidate," Perino said.
U.S. State Department spokesman Tom Casey said, "I don't think any of us view it as a coincidence that, as Lebanon's preparing to elect a new president, this incident has occurred."