Card. Sfeir: Lebanon in agony while world looks on
by Youssef Hourani

After the massacre in Qana, the Maronite patriarch called once again for a ceasefire and humanitarian corridors. The UN headquarters in Beirut was attacked. Today, at 5pm, all the parishes in Lebanon will ring their church bells to protest against the massacre.

Beirut (AsiaNews) – The Maronite Patriarch, Nasrallah Sfeir, has denounced and condemned this morning's massacre by Israeli bombers against the city of Qana near Tyre, which claimed more than 50 civilian lives, including 27 children.

During Mass held today at the summer seat of the patriarchate in Dimane (north Lebanon), Patriarch Sfeir said: "This morning the bad news reached me about the murder by Israel of 50 defenceless civilians in the village of Qana, a village that has already tasted the bitterness of death and hatred in the not distant past, again at the hand of Israeli forces. Once again I make my appeal, launched on Friday together with all the Maronite bishops, for an immediate ceasefire. Lebanon is no longer able to endure, our people is in agony while the world looks on. The crime of Qana must be condemned by all."

The patriarch also reiterated his request to "open humanitarian corridors and to respect the life of each and every person, which is a gift from God".

The massacre of Qana came a few hours before the scheduled arrival in Lebanon of the US Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice. After the massacre in Qana, Rice cancelled her visit to Lebanon, choosing to remain in Jerusalem. Meanwhile, tension in Beirut is on the rise: this morning, a thick crowd of people attacked the UN headquarters there with stones and iron rods. Some people also managed to get into the building, breaking windows and shouting anti-USA slogans, calling for the expulsion of the ambassador, Jeffrey Feltman.

In the morning, the Maronite patriarchal vicar of Sarba diocese, Mgr Guy-

Paul Noujaim, denounced the new massacre of Qana, calling on all the parishes to ring their church bells at 5pm today as a sign of protest against the massacre and of solidarity towards residents of the devastated village.