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Lebanon

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Index
  1. Lebanon Main Page
  2. Warring Factions Within Lebanon and Regional Conflicts Make Peace Impossible
  3. Continuing Conflict with Israel Leads to the Formation of Hezbollah
  4. Israeli Attacks and Syrian Meddling Continue
  5. Syrian Occupation Ends, but Syrian Influence Continues
  6. A Failed Israeli Attack Increases Hezbollah's Power
  7. Terrorism Within Lebanon Leads to a Troubled Government
  8. Hezbollah Flexes Its Muscle and Gains a Greater Stake in the Government
  9. Pro-Western Coalition Maintains Its Majority in Parliament
  10. Lebanon Dragged into War in Syria
  11. Prime Minister Mikati Resigns
  12. Civil War in Syria Spills over into Lebanon
A Failed Israeli Attack Increases Hezbollah's Power

On July 12, 2006, Hezbollah fighters entered Israel and captured two Israeli soldiers. In response, Israel launched a major military attack, bombing the Lebanese airport and other major infrastructures, as well as parts of southern Lebanon. Hezbollah, led by Sheik Hassan Nasrallah, retaliated by launching hundreds of rockets and missiles into Israel (Iran supplies Hezbollah with weapons, which are transported through Syria). After a week of fighting, Israel made it clear that its offensive in Lebanon would continue until Hezbollah was routed. Although much of the international community demanded a cease-fire, the United States supported Israel's plan to continue the fighting until Hezbollah was drained of its military power (Hezbollah is thought to have at least 12,000 rockets and missiles and had proved a much more formidable foe than anticipated). On Aug. 14, a UN-negotiated cease-fire went into effect. The UN planned to send a 15,000-member peacekeeping force. About 1,150 Lebanese, mostly civilians, and 150 Israelis, mostly soldiers, died in the 34 days of fighting. More than 400,000 Lebanese were forced from their homes. Almost immediately, Hezbollah began organizing reconstruction efforts, and handing out financial aid to families who had lost their homes, shoring up loyalty from Shiite civilians.

In November, Pierre Gemayel, minister of industry and member of a well-known Maronite Christian political dynasty, was assassinated, the fifth anti-Syrian leader to be killed since the death of Rafik Hariri in Feb. 2005. Pro-government protesters blamed Syria and its Lebanese allies, and staged large demonstrations following the assassination. These protests were then followed by even larger and more sustained demonstrations by Hezbollah supporters. Beginning Dec. 1, tens of thousands of demonstrators, led by the Hezbollah leader Sheik Hassan Nasrallah, occupied the center of Beirut and called for the resignation of the pro-Western coalition government.

About 60 people were killed in May 2007 in battles between government troops and members of Islamic militant group Fatah al-Islam, which is based in a Palestinian refugee camp near Tripoli in Lebanon. The group is similar in philosophy to al-Qaeda.

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