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Terrorism & the Media

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The 1983 Attacks of Hezbollah

Terrorism & the Media LE300G

Taylor Cerimele

March 2, 2014

According to, an act of terrorism is the calculated use or threat of violence against civilians in order to attain goals that are political or religious or ideological in nature; this is done through intimidation or coercion or instilling fear. Such acts violate federal or state law and intend to intimidate a civilian population to influence the policy of a government. These acts are also done to affect the conduct of a government by mass destruction, assassination, or kidnapping.

United States military arrived in Lebanon in July, 1982 as part of a peacekeeping force internationally, to help stabilize the civil war going on throughout the country between Christians and Muslims. Israel invaded Lebanon to displace the Palestine Liberation Organization. Our military left in early September when violence had ended but soon returned later that month when it resumed.

In 1983, Hezbollah operatives committed two attacks on Americans overseas. Hezbollah is a Lebanese militant Islamic group whose anti-U.S. opinions were ignited in part by the revolution in Iran. These operatives who carried out these acts were receiving logistical and financial support from Syria and Iran. The first attack occurred at the U.S. Embassy and the other in Marine barracks, both Beirut, Lebanon. Both attacks were suicide truck bombers.

On April 18, 1983, the United States Embassy building in Beirut, Lebanon was attacked by a 400-pound suicide truck bomb. The suicide truck driver rammed into the U.S. Embassy building. The blast killed 63 people and injured 120 in all. The majority of those were CIA staff and embassy members. Several soldiers and one marine were also killed. 17 out of the 63 that were killed were Americans. Up to that time, it was the deadliest attack on a U.S. diplomatic mission. Many believe that this attack initiated the beginning of anti-U.S. attacks by Islamist groups. An intervention of a Multinational Force was held earlier that week before the bombing took place to try to restore central government authority and order.

This bombing prompted a review of security measures at the Department of State. Eventually this created of the Diplomatic Security Service and Bureau of Diplomatic Security. They soon figured out that this was an act of terrorism by Hezbollah terrorists and knew that there were issues with embassy security. At first, a pro-Iranian group calling themselves the Islamic Jihad Organization took responsibility for the bombing in a telephone call to a new office immediately after the blast. It wasn't until May 30, 2003 that a judge determined that the bombing was carried out by the militant group Hezbollah with the approval of senior Iranian officials. This paved the way for the victims to seek damages.

On October 23rd, 1983, a truck full of explosives drove through the Marine barracks in Beirut killing 241 military personnel



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