Qaouq: Electoral Law Course from Bad to Worse, U.S. Tomahawks Overflew Lebanon

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Hizbullah central council member Sheikh Nabil Qaouq warned Sunday that “the course of the electoral law is going from bad to worse,” noting that the Tomahawk missiles that U.S. warships fired at a Syrian airbase at dawn Friday had “violated Lebanon’s airspace.”

“Our eyes today are on the course of the Lebanese parliamentary elections, because the course of the electoral law is going from bad to worse and the crisis over it is becoming more difficult and complicated, especially that some political forces are still making adventures, procrastinating and maneuvering without caring about the country’s fate,” Qaouq cautioned.

“Meanwhile, we are keen on rescuing the country, which will head quickly towards certain dangers unless the Lebanese agree on a new electoral law. That’s why we are exerting efforts to agree on a law that ensures correct and fair representation,” Qaouq added, noting that “the efforts will be intensified in the next few days, which represent the last chance.”

Separately, Qaouq announced that “the U.S. aggression against Syria posed a direct threat to Lebanon and violated the Lebanese sovereignty.”

“What would have happened if any of the 59 missiles that crossed Lebanon’s airspace fell on any Lebanese city or village? Didn’t that pose a threat to Lebanon? Doesn’t Lebanon have sanctity and sovereignty that prevent the U.S. from violating the Lebanese sovereignty without any accountability?” Qaouq added.

The missile strike against a Syrian airbase marks the first time the United States has directly attacked the regime of President Bashar al-Assad. Hizbullah has sent thousands of fighters across the border to bolster Assad’s forces against an Islamist-led uprising.

At around 3:40 am Syria time on Friday the U.S. military fired 59 Tomahawk missiles at the Shayrat airfield near Homs in central Syria.

According to the Pentagon, as well as hosting Syrian aircraft the facility was used to store chemical weapons.

The Tomahawks targeted aircraft, hardened aircraft shelters, petroleum and logistical storage, ammunition supply bunkers, air defense systems and radars, the Pentagon said.

Pentagon spokesman Navy Captain Jeff Davis said the strike lasted “a couple of minutes.”

U.S. intelligence agents believe aircraft from Shayrat conducted a suspected chemical weapons attack on April 4 in the rebel-held Idlib town of Khan Sheikhun.

The strike was launched from the destroyers USS Porter and USS Ross in the eastern Mediterranean.

A Russian air unit was based at the airfield, a US military official said, with anywhere from 12-100 personnel. The Pentagon warned these forces ahead of the strike using a special military-to-military hotline.

A U.S. official said the strike was designed to avoid casualties. “Every precaution was taken to execute this strike with minimal risk to personnel at the airfield,” he said.

The Syrian army in a statement said six people were killed at the base and that the attack caused “significant damage.”

The SANA state news agency said four children were among nine civilians killed in surrounding villages.

U.S. officials stressed the strike was a direct reaction to the chemical attack, and not the beginning of a broader military campaign against Assad.

Damascus government ally Russia said the strike constituted an “aggression against a sovereign state” and suspended a bilateral agreement to help avoid clashes in the skies over Syria.