October 23 1983: Islamic terrorists blew up our U.S. Marine barracks in Beirut, Lebanon killing 220 marines and 23 other service members. Another attack nearby killed 58 French paratroopers in their barracks.
On October 23 1983, around 6:20 am, a yellow Mercedes-Benz truck drove to Beirut International Airport, where the 1st Battalion 8th Marines, under the U.S. 2nd Marine Division of the United States Marine Corps, had set up its local headquarters. The truck had been substituted for a hijacked water delivery truck. The truck turned onto an access road leading to the Marines’ compound and circled a parking lot. The driver then accelerated and crashed through a barbed wire fence around the parking lot, passed between two sentry posts, crashed through a gate and barreled into the lobby of the Marine headquarters. The Marine sentries at the gate were operating under their rules of engagement, which made it very difficult to respond quickly to the truck. By the time the two sentries had locked, loaded, and shouldered their weapons, the truck was already inside the building’s entry way.
The suicide bomber detonated his explosives, which were equivalent to 12,000 pounds (about 5,400 kg) of TNT. The force of the explosion collapsed the four-story cinder-block building into rubble, crushing many inside.It is said to have been the largest non-nuclear blast ever (deliberately) detonated on the face of the earth. “The force of the explosion,” “initially lifted the entire four-story structure, shearing the bases of the concrete support columns, each measuring fifteen feet in circumference and reinforced by numerous one and three quarter inch steel rods. The airborne building then fell in upon itself. A massive shock wave and ball of flaming gas was hurled in all directions.”
About 20 seconds later, an identical attack occurred against the barracks of the French 3rd Company of the 6th French Parachute Infantry Regiment. Another suicide bomber drove his truck down a ramp into the building’s underground parking garage and detonated his bomb, leveling the headquarters.
See Michelle Malkin today for a wonderful and complete story and memorial.