Lebanese Civil War


Arafat elected leader of PLO


Bus Ambush

April 1975

Phalangist gunmen ambush a bus in the Ayn-al-Rummanah district of Beirut, killing 27 of its mainly Palestinian passengers. The Phalangists claim that guerrillas had previously attacked a church in the same district. These clashes start the civil war.

Syrian Troops Enter Lebanon

June 1976

Syrian troops enter Lebanon to restore peace but also to curb the Palestinians, thousands of whom are killed in a siege of the Tel al-Zaatar camp by Syrian-allied Christian militias in Beirut. Arab states approve of the Syrian presence as an Arab Deterrent Force in October.

Kamal Jumblatt assassinated


Led the National Movement (NM). NM included parties of the Lebanese Left. These were the Palestinians' most important allies.

Israel invades Lebanon


In reprisal for a Palestinian attack, Israel launches a major invasion of southern Lebanon. It withdraws from all but a narrow border strip, which it hands over not to the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) but to its proxy South Lebanon Army mainly Christian militia.

Musa Sadr disappears in Libya

September 1978

led Lebanese Shias. Had cofounded the "Social Movement", a self help organization for the rural population of southern Lebanon with a Greek Catholic bishop, Haddad.

Israel Invades Lebanon

June 1982

Following the attempted assassination of the Israeli ambassador to Britain by a Palestinian splinter group, Israel launches a full-scale invasion of Lebanon.

Gemayel Assassinated

September 1982

Pro-Israeli president-elect Bachir Gemayel is assassinated. Israel occupies West Beirut, where the Phalangist militia kills thousands of Palestinians in the Sabra and Shatila camps. Bachir's elder brother Amine is elected president. Mainly US, French and Italian peacekeeping force arrives in Beirut.