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Historical Fact: Bombing of marine barracks, October 23, 1983
Simultaneous suicide truck-bomb attacks were made on American and French compounds in Beirut, Lebanon. A 12,000-pound bomb destroyed the U.S. compound, killing 242 Americans, while 58 French troops were killed when a 400-pound device destroyed a French base. Islamic Jihad claimed responsibility.

U.S. Marine Corp Barracks before explosion

In the early morning hours of 23 October 1983, a truck loaded with explosives crashed through the security perimeter of the United States Marine Corps Barracks in Beirut, Lebanon. In the explosion that followed, 241 U.S. Military personnel were killed and 80 seriously wounded.These young people, on a mission of peace in a land stricken by violence, were killed as they slept.

U.S. Marine Corp Barracks after explosion

Twen ty-one (21) of the young American victims of this cowardly act were returned to the United States and were buried near one another in Section 59 of Arlington National Cemetery. Near their gravesites is planted a Cedar of Lebanon tree which commemorates their sacrifice.

President Reagan related:
"The next night (following the beginning of the Grenada special operation) Nancy and I went to bed a little earlier than usual because we were tired after the early morning interruption the night before. At about 2:30 A.M., however, our phone rang again. Again it was Bud McFarlane: He said a suicide bomber had just driven a truckload of dynamite past our sentries and smashed into the Marine Barracks at the Beirut Airport. According to the first reports, at least one hundred Marines had been killed. There was to be no more sleep for us that night. I got on the phone with the Pentagon to make sure that everything possible was being done to protect the remaining Marines in Beirut, then met with George Shultz and Bud for several hours in the same living room where we'd spent much of the night before. As dawn approached, the news from Beirut became grimmer and grimmer. At 6:39 A.M., we went to the airport, boarded Air Force One, and flew to Washington for what was to become a full day of National Security Council meetings in the White House Situation Room. We discussed the Bombings and the preparations for the Grenada operation, which was scheduled to get started late that night with the infiltration of commando teams to gather intelligence paving the way for the landing the next day."

"On Monday, October 24, the news from Beirut became even more sickening, in all, 241 marines had died as they slept, resting from the duties of trying to keep peace in Lebanon. Two miles away, and two minutes after the blast at the airport, fifty-eight French soldiers, also members of the multinational force, had been killed by a second car bomb. The evidence indicated that both suicide vehicles were driven by radical Shiite fundamentalists suicidally bent on the pursuit of martyrdom. They were members of the same group responsible for the barbarous bombing of our embassy in Beirut the previous April, a group whose religious leaders promised instant entry to Paradise for killing an enemy of Iran's theocracy. Nancy and I were in a state of grief, made almost speechless by the magnitude of the loss"

Pictures of 1983 bombing of US barracks in Beirut

Taken from Terrorism Victims


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