US Embassy Beirut Marks 30th Anniversary of Embassy Bombing in Ain El Mraise

Today, the US Embassy in Lebanon gathered at the Embassy in Awkar to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the Embassy bombing in Ain El Mraiseh on April 18, 1983.

The incident’s entry in Wikipedia says that the car bomb was detonated by a suicide bomber driving a delivery van packed with about 2,000 pounds (910 kg) of explosives at approximately 1:00 pm (GMT+2) April 18, 1983. The van, originally sold in Texas, bought used and shipped to the Gulf, gained access to the embassy compound and parked under the portico at the very front of the building, where it exploded.

Image from US Embassy Lebanon/FB

Image from US Embassy Lebanon/FB

Excerpt from Ambassador Maura Connelly‘s remarks:

We are here today to remember our colleagues who were taken from us 30 years ago today, in a terrible bombing of the U.S. Embassy in Ain el-Mreisseh.  A huge bomb exploded in front of the embassy and sheared off a large part of the building.  52 staff of the U.S. mission died that day; many others were wounded.  For those who lost their lives, the story was finished.  For those who survived, years of loss and grief and trauma and hardship and recovery followed.  Some of you here today are among those survivors.  I remember our destroyed embassy often:  when I pass the site along the Corniche or sometimes when I enter our compound here through the barriers designed to defend against another truck bombing, I remember those whom we lost.  I know the survivors and the families of the victims remember that awful day every day and they always will.
[…]

In 1983, the staff of Embassy Beirut came in peace but a terrorist group chose them as its target and killed 52 people.  But ultimately the terrorists failed.  Because Embassy Beirut re-established itself here, on this compound, and went back to work.  And when terrorists chose to attack us again in 1984, they found it was harder to kill us.  We went back to work again and we have worked hard ever since, day in, day out.  We come in peace every day and we always will.   In the end, the terrorists always fail.

1983 and 1984 were very hard years for us.  We suffered many losses.  And the losses haven’t stopped.

 

— DS