House Speaker Nabih Berri warned that the explosion was aimed at causing massive amounts of death and destruction.
“The criminal terrorist bombing which targeted the southern suburbs today was designed to inflict a lot of death and destruction,” the speaker said in a statement.
He further added that it was “divine intervention that prevented a massacre in this densely populated area, in front of a crowded commercial place,” about the explosion outside a market in the Beir al-Abed that injured dozens.
Berri said the blast also aimed at sowing discord among the Lebanese “which makes awareness a necessity.”
“The southern suburbs, since the ’80s, have been the target of “Israeli”-organized crime, terrorism and sabotage as well as enemy [attacks] by air and sea that destroyed and killed during the July  war,” he recalled.
For his part, Prime Minister-designate Tammam Salam said the attack was a “horrific crime attempting to undermine the stability of Lebanon and the security of its people.”
Salam called for the “highest degrees of vigilance and national solidarity” to preserve Lebanon’s security.
Caretaker Prime Minister Najib Mikati said the attack made dialogue imperative to avoid further strife.
“Once again criminal hands meddled with the security of Lebanon and the Lebanese, this time targeting a dear Lebanese area,” Mikati said in a statement. He said the blast “reminds us of the dark eras of the history of Lebanon,” echoing remarks made by the president that warned of a return to previous periods of instability.
“This explosion, if anything, indicates that the hand of hate and crime continues with its plot to [weaken] the situation in Lebanon and does not discriminate between one region or another, which makes it imperative that the Lebanese hasten dialogue in order to break the political and security impasse,” Mikati said.
Similarly, Free Patriotic Movement leader MP Michel Aoun blamed the Dahyieh bombing on “those who endorse the Takfiri ideology” and “those who make fiery speeches.”
“The bombing incident must not only be a subject for condemnation. Everyone who endorses an explosive rhetoric must be condemned and the person who detonates a bomb in residential neighborhoods is a major criminal,” Aoun said after the weekly meeting of the Change and Reform bloc in Rabiyeh.
“Those who endorse the Takfiri ideology, those who make fiery speeches, those who incite sectarianism and those who instigate against all the members of a certain sect are the biggest criminals, whether they are MPs, ministers or clergymen,” Aoun added.
“We thank God that no one was killed … but more vigilance must be exercised and those who are inciting must shut up. From now on, I will attack the criminals,” he went on to say.
The Progressive Social Part leader Walid Jumblatt issued a strong condemnation of the attack, saying it aimed at “undermining stability and attacking civil unity.”
“This explosion reaffirms that the sharp political polarization among the Lebanese cannot continue,” said Jumblatt, adding that the political split in the country exposed it to additional security threats.
In parallel, Caretaker Defense Minister Fayez Ghosn said that the Lebanese are at a crossroad amid the situation in the region as these kinds of explosions only target stability.
Marada Movement leader MP Suleiman Franjieh condemned the Dahieh attack, calling on officials to pay attention to their political rhetoric.
He warned: “The rhetoric of sectarian incitement that we are witnessing today might be exploited by Lebanon’s enemies to undermine domestic stability.
On the international level, UN Security Council strongly condemned the car bomb attack and raised fears about the growing spread of the Syria conflict.
The 15-nation council renewed appeals for all groups to stay out of the Syrian war despite growing cross border attacks in a statement released after a meeting on mounting tensions in Lebanon.
Moreover, the council slammed the bombing as a “heinous act” and called for the perpetrators to be brought to justice.
“The members of the Security Council appealed to all Lebanese people to preserve national unity in the face of attempts to undermine the country’s stability,” added the statement.
The council “stressed the importance for all Lebanese parties to respect Lebanon’s policy of disassociation and to refrain from any involvement in the Syrian crisis.”
Meanwhile, the EU said it strongly condemns the bomb attack, reiterating its “support to Lebanon’s institutions” and urging all parties to “work together towards Lebanon’s peace, security and stability, especially at the beginning of the holy month of Ramadan.
British Foreign Secretary William Hague also condemned the explosion in southern Beirut.
“I call on all Lebanese parties to work together to resist any efforts by extremists and terrorists to undermine Lebanon’s hard-won peace,” he said in a statement. “The UK remains fully committed to supporting stability in Lebanon and to helping the Lebanese authorities to respond to the impact of the Syrian conflict.”