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Damour massacre

Damour massacre
Part of the Lebanese Civil War
Location Damour, Lebanon
Date January 20, 1976 (cc)
Attack type
Deaths 150[1]-582 civilians[2]
Perpetrators Lebanese National Movement

The Damour massacre took place on January 20, 1976, during the 1975–1990 massacre that followed, and the remainder were forced to flee.[3]


  • Background 1
  • Events 2
  • Perpetrators 3
  • See also 4
  • Notes 5
  • References 6
  • Further reading 7
  • External links 8


The Ahrar and the Phalangist militias based in Damour and Dayr al Nama had been blocking the coastal road leading to southern Lebanon and the Chouf, and this turned them into a threat to the PLO and its leftist and nationalist allies in the Lebanese civil war.[4] The Damour massacre was a response to the Karantina massacre of January 18, 1976, in which Phalangists killed from 1,000 up to 1,500 people.[5][6]

It occurred as part of a series of events during the Lebanese Civil War, in which Palestinians joined the Muslim forces,[7] in the context of the Christian-Muslim divide,[8] and soon Beirut was divided along the Green Line, with Christian enclaves to the east and Muslims to the west.[9]


Twenty Phalangist militiamen were executed, and then civilians were lined up against a wall and sprayed with machine-gun fire. None of the remaining inhabitants survived.[10] An estimated 582 civilians died.[2] Among the killed were family members of Elie Hobeika and his fiancée.[11] Following the Battle of Tel al-Zaatar later the same year, the PLO resettled Palestinian refugees in Damour. After the Israeli invasion of Lebanon in 1982, the Zaatar refugees were expelled from Damour, and the original inhabitants brought back.[12]

According to Thomas L. Friedman, the Phalangist Damouri Brigade, which carried out the Sabra and Shatila massacre during the 1982 Lebanon War sought revenge not only for the assassination of Bashir Gemayel, but also for what he describes as past tribal killings of their own people by Palestinians, including those at Damour.[13][14]

According to an eyewitness, the attack took place from the mountain behind the town. "It was an apocalypse," said Father Mansour Labaky, a Christian Maronite priest who survived the massacre. "They were coming, thousands and thousands, shouting 'Allahu Akbar! (God is great!) Let us attack them for the Arabs, let us offer a holocaust to Mohammad!", and they were slaughtering everyone in their path, men, women and children."[15][16][17][18]


The bulk of the attacking forces seems to have been composed of brigades from the Palestinian Liberation Army[19] and as-Sa'iqa, as well as other militias, including Fatah. Some sources also mention the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP), and the Muslim Lebanese al-Murabitun militia among the attackers. There are reports that PLO forces were additionally joined by militiamen from Syria, Jordan, Libya,[20] Iran, Pakistan and Afghanistan, and possibly even Japanese Red Army terrorists who were then undergoing training by the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine in Lebanon.[21]

See also


  1. ^ Hirst, David (2010). Beware of small states. Nation Books. p. 111.  
  2. ^ a b Nisan, 2003
  3. ^ Armies in Lebanon, 1985, Osprey Publishing
  4. ^ Yezid Sayigh (1999) Armed Struggle and the Search for State: The Palestinian National Movement, 1949–1993 Oxford University Press, ISBN 0-19-829643-6 p 368
  5. ^ William W. Harris (January 2006). The New Face of Lebanon: History's Revenge. Markus Wiener Publishers. p. 162.  
  6. ^ Noam Chomsky, Edward W. Said (1999) Fateful Triangle: The United States, Israel, and the Palestinians South End Press, ISBN 0-89608-601-1 pp 184–185
  7. ^ Samuel M. Katz (1985). Armies in Lebanon. Osprey Publishing. p. 5.  
  8. ^ Frank Brenchley (1989). Britain and the Middle East: Economic History, 1945-87. I.B.Tauris. p. 221.  
  9. ^ Terry John Carter; Lara Dunston; Amelia Thomas (2008). Syria & Lebanon. Ediz. Inglese. Lonely Planet. p. 35.  
  10. ^ Fisk, 2001, pp. 99–100.
  11. ^ "Elie Hobeika". moreorless : heroes & killers of the 20th century. Retrieved 8 July 2012. 
  12. ^ Helena Cobban (November 8, 2004). "Back to Shatila, part 2". Just World News. Just World News. Retrieved 8 July 2012. 
  13. ^ Friedman, 1998, p. 161.
  14. ^ Friedman, New York Times, Sep 20, 21, 26, 27, 1982.
  15. ^ Israel undercover: secret warfare and hidden diplomacy in the Middle East By Steve Posner, ISBN 0-8156-0220-0, ISBN 978-0-8156-0220-0, p. 2
  16. ^ J. Becker: The PLO: The Rise and Fall of the Palestine Liberation Organization, Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1984, p. 124 [1] qtd in [2] [3]
  17. ^ "Articles > PLO Policy towards the Christian Community during the Civil War in Lebanon". ICT. Retrieved 2012-07-05. 
  18. ^ The PLO: The Rise and Fall of the Palestine Liberation Organization, Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1984, p. 124 [4] qtd in [5] [6]
  19. ^ Some sources name the PLA's Ayn Jalout brigade armed by Egypt and the Qadisiyah brigade from Iraq. This page also mentions the Yarmouk brigade, set up by Syria.
  20. ^ Brian Lee Davis (January 1, 1990). Qaddafi, Terrorism, and the Origins of the U.S. Attack on Libya. ABC-CLIO. p. 11.  
  21. ^ Nisan, 2003, p. 41.


  • Abraham, A. J. (1996). The Lebanon War. Praeger/Greenwood. ISBN 0-275-95389-0
  • Fisk, Robert. (2001). Pity the Nation: Lebanon at War. Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-280130-9
  • Friedman, Thomas. (1998) From Beirut To Jerusalem. 2nd Edition. London: HarperCollins. ISBN 0-00-653070-2
  • Nisan, M. (2003). The Conscience of Lebanon: A Political Biography of Etienne Sakr (Abu-Arz). London: Routledge. ISBN 0-7146-5392-6.

Further reading

  • Becker, Jillian. (1985). The PLO: The Rise and Fall of the Palestine Liberation Organization . New York: St. Martin's Press ISBN 0-312-59379-1

External links

  • Lebanese Civil War 1975 – 1976 Includes pictures of the Syrian-formed and -sponsored groups (Yarmouk and Sai'qa) attacking Damour city (January 1976).
  • Phalangist website – contains account and includes a graphic photograph of mutilated children
  • Damour Massacre (1976)
  • Damour Massacre pictures
  • Country profile: Lebanon
  • Photographs from a page sympathetic to the Lebanese Forces
  • Country profile: Lebanon
  • Arafat's Massacre of Damour

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