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October 24, 2019 9:41 am

US Marks 36th Anniversary of Beirut Suicide Bombing as Protests Rock Lebanon

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Lebanese protesters in Beirut on Oct. 19, 2019. Photo: Shahen Araboghlian via Wikimedia Commons. – The United States commemorated the 36th anniversary of the Hezbollah suicide-bombing of barracks housing US and French peacekeepers in Beirut International Airport.

The 1983 bombing took the lives of 220 US marines, 18 sailors and three soldiers.

“Today, we remember their sacrifice and the tremendous loss suffered by their families, friends and partners,” said US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in a statement on Wednesday. “Our outrage over this despicable act of terrorism perpetrated on those patriotic men and women remains as deep as ever.”

“We remain more determined than ever to push back on those who threaten the sovereignty, stability and prosperity of this vital region,” he added.

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At the time, US President Ronald Reagan said “these deeds make so evident the bestial nature of those who would assume power if they could have their way and drive us out of that area.”

The anniversary came as Lebanese citizens call for political change in light of a faltering economy, including pushing for no new taxes, privatizing the telecom industry and halving the salaries of government officials. Protesters have also called for Prime Minister Saad Hariri to resign.

The demonstrations started as a response to proposed taxes, including on phone calls via WhatsApp.

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