cAmouc LEADERS in Lebanon have denounced a car bomb explosion that killed a top Maronite Catholic military official in a neighbourhood of Beirut.
"The war in Lebanon is not finished," said Chaldean Bishop Michel Kassarji of Beirut.
"The big problem is for Christians in Lebanon. We are afraid we will not have the possibility to elect a president because of the interference of Syria and Iran, and also Saudi Arabia, France and the United States," he said. "Everyone has an interest in Lebanon, and that's not good for our country. We are Lebanese and we want to govern our own country by ourselves," Brig Gen Francois Hajj was killed in the blast in Beirut's Baabda neighborhood near the presidential palace. Hajj was expected to succeed Gen Michel Suleiman as head of the military if Suleiman is elected president. Bishop Kassarji said he believes the attack "was intended to be a clear message that certain groups don't want Suleiman as president".
Lebanon's Maronite bishops, describing the explosion as a terrorist act, repeated their call for the speedy election of a new president. Lebanon has been without a president since Emile Lahoud's term expired on November 23. The posts of president and army commander are each reserved for a Maronite Catholic.