US judge awards $44 million to victims of 1983 Beirut marine barracks bombing


US marines continue to search for victims, on October 31, 1983, after a terrorist attack against the headquarters of the U.S. troops of the multinational force that killed 241 American soldiers on October 23, 1983 in Beirut.


Philippe Bouchon

BEIRUT, Lebanon — A US judge has awarded two plaintiffs $44.6 million in a settlement that blamed Iran for a 1983 attack on an American marines barracks in Beirut, Lebanon, the Associated Press reported.

However, "the money will be hard to collect," the news wire wrote. Judge Royce Lamberth said he "applauds plaintiffs' persistent efforts to hold Iran accountable for its cowardly support of terrorism," when he awarded the money to Jeffrey Paul O'Brien and Daniel Lane Gaffney and their families. The two men were injured in the attack that killed 241 American military members.

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Families of the victims of terrorist attacks on Americans based in Beirut during the Lebanese civil war are politically active. They have criticized the Obama administration for blocking sanctions bill in retaliations for attacks in Beirut in 1983, according to a press release. Groups representing the fallen soldiers number at 1,000 families.

Memorials are held annually to commemorate the victims of what was, until September 11, 2001, one of the worst terrorist attacks on Americans, according to a CBS news station in North Carolina.

Also in 1983, terrorists drove a truck bomb into the American embassy on Beirut's seaside corniche, which was one of the worst losses of life in the State Department's history. Blame for that attack is disputed, but the Reagan administration blamed Hezbollah, according to PBS.