A Blog by the Editor of The Middle East Journal

Putting Middle Eastern Events in Cultural and Historical Context

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Another Anniversary: 29 Years Since the Beirut Marine Barracks

Not only is today the anniversary of El Alamein, it's also the 29th anniversary of the bombing of the US Marine Barracks in Beirut on October 23, 1983. That bombing, which killed 220 Marines, 18 Navy and three Army personnel, was the greatest loss the Marines had suffered in a single day since Iwo Jima, and the greatest US military loss in a single day since the Tet Offensive in Vietnam in 1968. One Lebanese was killed. On the same day, another truck bomb struck the headquarters of the French 1st Parachute Chasseur Regiment and killed 58 paratroopers, the French Army's worst day of loss since the Algerian War.

Imad Mughniyya, later a key figure in Hizbullah, was later accused of planning the attacks.

Truck and car bombings became a common weapon in Beirut; one aimed at Sheikh Muhammad Fadlallah in 1985 has sometimes been seen as a retaliation by US surrogates Hizbullah, though that group was not yet using that name in 1983.

And as we have been forcibly reminded just in the past week, the car bomb remains a weapon of choice in Beirut.

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