President Bush has urged Syria to stop interfering in Lebanon, a day after the assassination of a senior Lebanese army officer in a car bombing on the outskirts of Beirut.

In a statement Thursday, Mr. Bush said interference by Syria and its allies, aimed at intimidating Lebanon's people, must end.

Mr. Bush condemned the killing of Brigadier General Francois al-Hajj, and said like many victims before him, the general supported Lebanon's independence.

There has been no claim of responsibility for Wednesday's car bomb attack on General Hajj in the Christian town of Baabda.

The attack followed the assassination of eight prominent anti-Syrian figures in Lebanon over the last two years. Syria has denied involvement in any of the attacks.

Lebanese authorities have launched an investigation into the killing of General Hajj, a Maronite Christian, and his driver.

They were killed shortly after leaving his home on the way to military headquarters. The initial investigation indicates that a car packed with explosives and parked by the roadside was detonated by remote control.

Lebanese newspapers say authorities are looking into possible links to Islamist militants.

General Hajj played a key role in the army offensive against al-Qaida-inspired militants at a Palestinian refugee camp Nahr al-Bared earlier this year. He was considered a top candidate to become the next head of Lebanon's army.

Syria denounced the assassination of General Hajj, saying it threatens Lebanon's stability.

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