In Ras Baalbak, in eastern Lebanon, villagers have been mourning at least 22 men who were killed on Wednesday (28 June).
GV Villagers dressed in black walking through street, passing shops with closed shutters
SV women in mourning entering house in village and wailing
GV Syrian armoured vehicles in open country
GV Greek Orthodox church (2 shots)
GV Israeli reconnaissance aircraft flies overhead PAN TO cemetery
GV Cemetery ZOOM INTO debris (2 shots)
GV Children in cemetery (2 shots)
After the emergency cabinet meeting, Lebanese Interior Minister Salah Salman said "It is no longer a secret that we have reached a crossroads and al of us should shoulder our responsibilities". One of those consulted by the government of President Sarkis was National Liberal Party leader Camille ???, who according to Reuters, later said he though those responsible for the Baalbak massacre had been neither "civilians nor Lebanese", hinting that he considered Syrian troops were to blame.
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Background: In Ras Baalbak, in eastern Lebanon, villagers have been mourning at least 22 men who were killed on Wednesday (28 June). Their bodies were found hours after armed men in civilian clothes burst into four predominantly Christian villages and abducted a number of people. All 22, found in nearby woods, had been shot in the head. Some reports put the number of those killed as hight as 36.
SYNOPSIS: The massacre, near the city of Baalbak, has been linked by right-wing Lebanese forces, with the raid on the northern village of Ihden two weeks earlier, in which 33 people were killed, including the son and family of former President Suleiman Franjieh. All those killed in Ras Baalbak were members of the right wing Falange Party. The area is patrolled by the mainly Syrian, Arab Peace Keeping Forces. Reuters News Agency reports that right-wing leaders have suggested that Syrian troops were responsible for the massacre.
After the death of Tony Franjieh,his wife and baby daughter, supporters of former President Franjieh in the Lebanese Front of right-wing organisations, blamed Falangists for the raid. There has been disagreement among rightists in Lebanon over policy on Syria. Mr. Franjieh has advocated close ties with the Syrian government while the Falange Party have been opposed to co-operation. After the Ihden killings, the Lebanese Front vowed revenge on the Falangists, who now claim the deaths in this village were an act of retaliation. After his son's death, Mr. Franjieh issued an ultimatum telling Falangists to leave north Lebanon or face the consequences.
News of the massacre reached the Lebanese capital, Beirut, only hours after the government of President Elias Sarkis had announced a new security plan to ease tension between the right-wing groups. The cabinet immediately went into an emergency session, consulting with Arab Peace Keeping Forces' commanders and religious leaders, to discuss this latest outbreak of violence.