In Ras Baalbak, in eastern Lebanon, villagers have been mourning at least 22 men who were killed on Wednesday (28 June).
In Ras Baalbak, in eastern Lebanon, villagers have been mourning at least 22 men who were killed on Wednesday (28 June). Their bodies were found hours after armed men in civilian clothes burst into four predominantly Christian villages and abducted a number of people. All 22, found in nearby woods, had been shot in the head. Some reports put the number of those killed as hight as 36.
SYNOPSIS: The massacre, near the city of Baalbak, has been linked by right-wing Lebanese forces, with the raid on the northern village of Ihden two weeks earlier, in which 33 people were killed, including the son and family of former President Suleiman Franjieh. All those killed in Ras Baalbak were members of the right wing Falange Party. The area is patrolled by the mainly Syrian, Arab Peace Keeping Forces. Reuters News Agency reports that right-wing leaders have suggested that Syrian troops were responsible for the massacre.
After the death of Tony Franjieh,his wife and baby daughter, supporters of former President Franjieh in the Lebanese Front of right-wing organisations, blamed Falangists for the raid. There has been disagreement among rightists in Lebanon over policy on Syria. Mr. Franjieh has advocated close ties with the Syrian government while the Falange Party have been opposed to co-operation. After the Ihden killings, the Lebanese Front vowed revenge on the Falangists, who now claim the deaths in this village were an act of retaliation. After his son's death, Mr. Franjieh issued an ultimatum telling Falangists to leave north Lebanon or face the consequences.
News of the massacre reached the Lebanese capital, Beirut, only hours after the government of President Elias Sarkis had announced a new security plan to ease tension between the right-wing groups. The cabinet immediately went into an emergency session, consulting with Arab Peace Keeping Forces' commanders and religious leaders, to discuss this latest outbreak of violence.