Twenty-nine years ago today, 220 Marines, 18 sailors and three soldiers, were killed and sixty Americans were injured when a truck bomb disguised as a water truck penetrated superficial security at the Marine barracks in Beirut with about 12,000 pounds of explosives. Two minutes later, French barracks were struck resulting in in the deaths of 58 paratroopers from the 1st Parachute Chasseur Regiment and 15 others were injured. They were Multinational peacekeeping forces that had been in Beirut since the year before when Israeli forces drove Palestinians from it’s frontier with Lebanon.
On February 7, 1984, President Reagan ordered the withdrawal of US forces from Lebanon after some light shelling of suspected Shia positions and some brief French air attacks in the Bekkaa Valley. A raid on a camp where Iranian Revolutionary Guards were believed to be training Shia jhadists was called off by President Reagan because little evidence existed at the time that Iran was involved in the bombing.
The weak responses to the bombing by the US are believed to have emboldened jihadists around the world and contributed to the rise of Hezbollah, the Iranian-backed extremists in Lebanon. Iran has since admitted it’s participation to the attack.
Michelle Malkin lists the casualties.