US to help Lebanon probe deadly car bombing
WASHINGTON - The United States will help Lebanon investigate the car bombing in Beirut that killed the country's internal security chief, a staunch critic of Syria, the State Department said Sunday.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton spoke by phone Sunday with Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati to again condemn Friday's attack that killed General Wissam al-Hassan and two others, department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said.
Clinton and Mikati "agreed that the US would provide assistance in the investigation of the bombing," Nuland added.
On Friday, the United States condemned the blast as a terror strike. And on Sunday, Clinton underscored "the United States' firm commitment to Lebanon's stability, independence, sovereignty and security," Nuland said.
In Beirut, Lebanese police fired in the air and used tear gas to repel protesters trying to storm Mikati's office, amid calls for him to quit after the deadly attack.
Hassan's funeral on Sunday had been billed as a protest against Syrian meddling in Lebanon, but quickly turned into anger at Mikati, whose government is dominated by pro-Syria parties.
Despite calls for him to quit, Mikati said he would stay on at President Michel Sleiman's request to avoid a "political vacuum" in volatile Lebanon.
The opposition has widely blamed Syrian President Bashar al-Assad for Friday's attack, as it did in 2005 when former premier Rafiq Hariri was killed in a huge Beirut blast.