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British Ambassador Apologizes for Blog Praising Late Cleric

Britain's ambassador to Lebanon has apologized for a blog post in which she praised Lebanon's recently deceased top Shi'ite cleric.

Frances Guy said she regretted any offense she caused after writing she was saddened by the death last Sunday of Grand Ayatollah Mohammed Hussein Fadlallah. She also said in the post that the world, quote, "needs more men like him willing to reach out across faiths."

The British government removed the post Friday, saying it did not reflect government policy.

Guy said she was trying to reflect on an influential figure in Lebanon's history who offered spiritual advice to Muslims in need.

Fadlallah was revered by many Shi'ite Muslims for his moderate social views. But he was also a fierce critic of the United States and Israel, which designated him a terrorist for openly advocating attacks against the Jewish state.

In her apology, Guy said she was sorry the post served to further entrench divisions in what she called a complex part of the world.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.