Lebanon's prime minister said on Monday a bomb attack at a major bank had harmed national security after an incident seen as a dangerous escalation of a crisis over a US law targeting the finances of Shiite group Hezbollah.
The bombing outside the main Blom Bank building in Beirut on Sunday night, which caused damage but no fatalities, followed the closure of accounts considered to be linked to the group by banks afraid of being shut out of the international financial system. Noone has claimed responsibility for the attack.
Hezbollah, proscribed by the United States as a terrorist organization and fighting in the civil in neighboring Syria as a vital ally of President Bashar al-Assad, reacted angrily last month to the US measures aimed at cutting off its funding.
The US law, passed in December, threatens to bar from the American financial market any bank that knowingly engages with Hezbollah. The group has not commented on the bombing.
The US law has ignited an unprecedented standoff between the central bank and Hezbollah, which views it as a breach of sovereignty. The banks say they have no choice.
Blom Bank has closed more accounts than other banks as a result of the legislation, Lebanese officials say.
At a meeting with the finance minister and central bank governor, Prime Minister Tammam Salam said the attack "rose to the level of damaging the national security of Lebanon".
The banking sector was "the fundamental dynamo" of the economy and "one of the main pillars of the state in light of the paralysis suffered by the constitutional institutions", he added, according to a government statement.
نستخدم ملفات الكوكيز لنسهل عليك استخدام مواقعنا الإلكترونية ونكيف المحتوى والإعلانات وفقا لمتطلباتك واحتياجاتك الخاصة، لتوفير ميزات وسائل التواصل الاجتماعية ولتحليل حركة المرور لدينا...اعرف أكثر