The White House issued a statement from the National Security Council to condemn “in the strongest terms the terrorist attack” today in Beirut that killed eight including Brig. Gen. Wissam al-Hassan, the head of the intelligence division of Lebanon’s domestic security forces.

A car bomb targeted al-Hassan’s convoy in a mainly Christian neighborhood, tearing apart nearby buildings and cars. The intelligence official had led a probe over the summer that linked the Syrian regime to terrorist plots in Lebanon.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the families and friends of those killed and injured in this heinous attack and with the Lebanese people, who have sacrificed greatly to overcome war and violence,” NSC spokesman Tommy Vietor said. “Lebanon’s security and stability are vital both for the Lebanese people and their neighbors. There is no justification for using assassination as a political tool.”

“The United States will stand by the Government of Lebanon and the people of Lebanon as they work to bring those responsible for this barbaric attack to justice and build a future where all Lebanese can live in security and dignity,” Vietor added.

Tweeted one Syrian opposition member: “247 human beings were slain at the hands of the Syrian regime today. 8 of them in #Lebanon.”