30th Anniversary of the Embassy Beirut Bombing

Press Statement
John Kerry
Secretary of State
Washington, DC
April 17, 2013

Today, on the 30th anniversary of the bombing of the U.S. Embassy in Beirut, Lebanon, the United States celebrates close cooperation with the people of Lebanon that proves the enemies of democracy failed.

On April 18, 1983, a suicide bomber detonated a vehicle laden with 2,000 pounds of explosives in front of Embassy Beirut, in what was then the single largest attack on a U.S. diplomatic facility.

This act of terrorism killed 52 American diplomats, military personnel, and Lebanese Embassy colleagues. It also wounded more than 100 Americans and Lebanese.

As we reflect on that day, we also remember another terrorist attack later that year against the U.S. Marine Barracks in Beirut, as well as a third attack on the Beirut Embassy a year later.

All the Americans lost in these acts of terror had come in peace. They and our cherished Lebanese colleagues made the ultimate sacrifice through their service.

Hizballah and other terrorist organizations like it hoped through these violent attacks to deter the United States from maintaining our strong relationship with the Lebanese people, and from working with all elements of Lebanese society to insure the stability and sovereignty of Lebanon.

Yet the last 30 years of close cooperation between the United States and Lebanon - especially at the people-to-people level - proves the terrorists' goals were not achieved.

They underestimated the resolve of the United States to fight terrorism and to bring terrorists to justice wherever they may lurk, resolve renewed this week following the cowardly bombings in my hometown of Boston.

The recent loss of State Department colleagues in Zabul, Ankara, and Benghazi remind us of the sacrifices made by our colleagues around the world who work at U.S. diplomatic missions to promote and protect democracy, enhance freedom and justice, and facilitate development.

Just as we did 30 years ago, the United States today steadfastly supports the Lebanese people and their continued advance toward a sovereign, stable, independent, and prosperous nation.

PRN: 2013/0429