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Obama marks 30 years since Beirut bombing

23 October 2013, 22:07

Washington - President Barack Obama marked 30 years since the killing of 241 Marines, troops and sailors in a Beirut suicide bombing on Wednesday and vowed to support Lebanon's unfinished quest for stability.

"This despicable act of terrorism was the deadliest single-day death toll for the US Marine Corps since the World War II Battle of Iwo Jima," Obama said, adding that the Marines had gone to Lebanon "in peace".

"We join with the families and their loved ones in paying tribute to the fallen and in sharing our deep appreciation for the ultimate sacrifice made in service to our nation," Obama said in a written statement.

"We also honour the courage and bravery of those warriors who survived the attack and spent days digging their brothers out of the rubble."

Obama noted that the bombing was followed moments later by a second attack on a French barracks in Lebanon which killed 58 paratroopers also blamed on Hezbollah, the Iran-backed Lebanese militia.

The President renewed the US commitment in the statement to promoting "Lebanon's stability, sovereignty, and independence."

"We continue to support the Lebanese people as they seek to form a government that reflects their aspirations and that will strengthen Lebanon's ability to defend its national interests and meet its international obligations."

The truck bombing of the US barracks in Beirut in 1983 killed 220 Marines, 18 sailors, and 3 soldiers taking part in a multinational force during the Lebanese civil war.

The attack prompted then president Ronald Reagan to pull US troops out of Lebanon.



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