Pierre Gemayel’s father, former leader Amin Gemayel who became president when his own brother was assassinated in 1982, has called for calm: “I have one wish, that tonight be a night of prayer to contemplate the meaning of this martyrdom and how to protect this country.” He urged supporters not to seek reactions or revenge.
Saad al Hariri, son of Prime Minister Rafik al Hariri who was assassinated last year, reacted vehemently: “What was promised is taking place,” he said, “they want to assassinate all free people.”
From Washington, under-secretary of state for political affairs Nicholas Burns condemned the killing: “We were shocked by this assassination. We view it as an act of terrorism. We also view it as an act of intimidation and we believe it’s the responsibility of all countries to support the Siniora government and to oppose those who try to divide Lebanon or return violence to political life in Lebanon.”
On a visit to London, Israeli foreign affairs minister Tzipi Livni said: “The news from Lebanon is another example of the kind of region, the kind of neighbourhood we are living in. This supports what I tried to explain before. This is between moderates and extremists.” Her British counterpart Margaret Beckett said: “We hope very much that whatever lies behind this it is a one-off because obviously what we are all anxious to do is to rebuild in Lebanon, not to look for further death and destruction.”