The Damour massacre took place on January 20, 1976, during the 1975–1990 Lebanese Civil War. Damour, a Maronite Christian town on the main highway south of Beirut, was attacked by Muslim and left-wing militants with help from Palestine Liberation Organisation units. Part of its population died in battle or in the massacre that followed, and the remainder were forced to flee.
|Part of the Lebanese Civil War|
|Date||January 20, 1976 (cc)|
|Perpetrators||Palestine Liberation Organization, Lebanese National Movement|
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.
It occurred as part of a series of events during the Lebanese Civil War, in which Palestinians joined the Muslim forces, in the context of the Christian-Muslim divide, and soon Beirut was divided along the Green Line, with Christian enclaves to the east and Muslims to the west.
Twenty Phalangist militiamen were executed, and then civilians were lined up against a wall and sprayed with machine-gun fire. Estimates of the number killed range from 100 to 500. Among the killed were family members of Elie Hobeika and his fiancée. 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.
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 killings of their own people by Palestinians, including those at Damour.
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."
The bulk of the attacking forces seems to have been composed of brigades from the Palestinian Liberation Army 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, 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.
- Hirst, David (2010). Beware of small states. Nation Books. p. 111. ISBN 978-0-571-23741-8.
With Palestinian help, the Muslim/lefitsts then overran Damour, in their domain, on the coastal road a few kilometres south of the capital, sacked it, killed some 150 inhabitants, and drove out the rest.
- Nisan, 2003
- Armies in Lebanon, 1985, Osprey Publishing
- William W. Harris (January 2006). The New Face of Lebanon: History's Revenge. Markus Wiener Publishers. p. 162. ISBN 978-1-55876-392-0. Retrieved July 27, 2013.
the massacre of 1,500 Palestinians, Shi'is, and others in Karantina and Maslakh, and the revenge killings of hundreds of Christians in Damour
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- Hirst, David (2010) Beware of Small States. Lebanon, battleground of the Middle East. Faber and Faber. ISBN 978-0-571-23741-8 p.111: ‘some 150’ killed
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- Some sources name the PLA's Ayn Jalout brigade armed by Egypt and the Qadisiyah brigade from Iraq. This page Archived January 14, 2006, at the Wayback Machine also mentions the Yarmouk brigade, set up by Syria.
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