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Marine Barracks Bombing (Lebanon)


A bombing that caused the deaths of 241 U.S. Marines in the Lebanese Civil War.

Following the Israeli invasion of Lebanon in 1982 and the massacre by the Phalange militia of Palestinians in the Sabra and Shatila refugee camps on the outskirts of Beirut, the administration of President Ronald Reagan dispatched peacekeeping troops to Lebanon in the framework of the Multinational Force (MNF). The MNF was composed of U.S., French, British, and Italian contingents tasked with shoring up the regime of President Amin Jumayyil, brother of the assassinated Bashir Jumayyil. The presence of U.S. Marines in West Beirut polarized animosities between Christians and Muslims in Lebanon, and the American contingent became the target of hatred and distrust.

Lebanese Muslims, especially Shiʿites living in the slums of West Beirut and around the airportwhere the marines were headquarteredsaw the MNF not as a peacekeeping force but as another faction in the Lebanese war. U.S. troops particularly were seen as perpetuating Maronite Catholic rule over Lebanon. Muslim feelings against the American presence were exacerbated when missiles lobbed by the U.S. Sixth Fleet hit innocent by-standers in the Druze-dominated Shuf mountains. On 20 October 1983, a Shiʿite Islamic Jihad member drove a truck loaded with 12,000 pounds of TNT into the lobby where the U.S. contingent was stationed and blew himself up, thereby killing 241 servicemen. In 1984, the Reagan administration withdrew the U.S. contingent from Lebanon.

see also reagan, ronald.


Friedman, Thomas L. From Beirut to Jerusalem. New York: Farrar Straus Giroux, 1989.

Pintak, Larry. Beirut Outtakes: A TV Correspondent's Portrait of America's Encounter with Terror. Lexington, MA: Lexington Books, 1988.

george e. irani

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