Ban calls for restraint after Beirut bombings

Nov. 19, 2013 at 1:04 PM
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UNITED NATIONS, Nov. 19 (UPI) -- U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said Tuesday he was appalled by an attack on the Iranian Embassy in Beirut, calling on all parties to show restraint.

"The secretary-general calls on all in Lebanon to recognize that such appalling and indiscriminate acts of violence target all in Lebanon," a statement issued by his spokesman said. "He urges all Lebanese parties to act with restraint and to support the institutions of the state, and particularly the security forces, as they seek to prevent further acts of terrorism."

The United Nations said the embassy bombings Tuesday left at least 23 civilians , including an Iranian diplomat, dead and more than 100 other people injured. (The Lebanese newspaper The Daily Star reported at least 25 dead and 150 injured.) Iran, through its semiofficial Fars News Agency, denied Ebrahim Ansari, its cultural attache in Beirut, was among the dead.

The Daily Star has tied a string of bombings in Lebanon to the Syrian civil war. Attacks inside Lebanon have escalated since Hezbollah, a Shiite movement, admitted to fighting alongside pro-government forces in Syria.

The Daily Star reported the Abdullah Azzam brigade, a Sunni group with ties to al-Qaida, took credit for the twin suicide bombings.

Iran is a close ally of Hezbollah.

The bombing prompted a quick response from the British government, which issued a travel alert for Lebanon within hours of the attack.

Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Marziyeh Afkham issued a statement through Fars describing the attack as inhuman.

"The Islamic Republic of Iran takes [Israel] and their mercenaries responsible for this action," she said.

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