02/03/2014, 00.00
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For Maronite patriarch, attacks in Lebanon due to divisions among Lebanese political leaders

Nusra Front claims recent attack in Hermel (Lebanon) was to punish Hizbollah. Former general Aoun holds back new government by demanding key ministries. Maronite bishops prepare paper on the country's situation and future. For over a year, Lebanon has not had a government.

Beirut (AsiaNews/Agencies) - Petty squabbles among Lebanese politicians - even among Christians - are the cause of the violent terrorist attacks that have struck several Lebanese cities, Maronite Patriarch Beshara al-Rahi said in his homily yesterday at a Mass celebrated in Bkerke, see of the patriarchate.

"We hold political parties and all those refusing reconciliation and obstructing the cabinet formation responsible for the ongoing explosions," the prelate said.

Also yesterday, the Nusra Front claimed responsibility for an attack in Lebanon. A day earlier, a car exploded in the Shia city of Hermel, in the northeast of the country, killing three people.

This is the third attack by the Sunni extremist group in Lebanon. In a statement, the group said that the attack was aimed at punishing Hizbollah for fighting alongside the Syrian government and Bashar Assad.

In addition to divisions between pro- and anti-Assad, Lebanese political parties are divided by power and economic ambitions.

Former General Michel Aoun, for example, has prevented the establishment of a government because he wants some key ministries to go to members of his party, the Free Patriotic Movement.

In a veiled reference to the problem, the Maronite patriarch yesterday said that the task of a government should be taking care of human beings, not ministerial budgets.

He also called on fellow Lebanese to pray for Lebanese politicians, that God may enlighten their minds.

For more than a year in Lebanon has had a caretaker government because the country's parties have failed to reach an agreement on a new cabinet and the number of ministries to be divided up among political parties.

On the occasion of the feast day of Saint Maroun (9 February), Father of the Maronite Church, the patriarch will release a paper (a 'national charter') outlining the principles of national unity and the priorities that must be dealt with in the present and the future.

The paper will be drafted after Maronite bishops' monthly meeting, set for 5 February.

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