Page last updated at 15:48 GMT, Wednesday, 14 May 2008 16:48 UK

Mass grave for 1982 massacre

Workers remove the body of a Palestinian killed in Sabra and Shatila, 1982

Hundreds, perhaps thousands, of civilian victims of the 1982 Sabra and Shatila massacre are buried in a mass grave a short distance to the south of Shatila camp.

They died when Israeli forces surrounded Sabra and Shatila and let in their Lebanese militia allies, belonging to the Christian Phalange movement, to root out armed Palestinians they claimed were hiding there.

Site of the mass grave

In fact the Palestinian fighters had already been evacuated and the Phalangists went on a three-day killing spree against the defenceless inhabitants.

The massacre is considered to be one of the bloodiest single events in the whole Arab-Israeli conflict.

Unidentified bodies were bulldozed into pits dug in this open area. Estimates of the death toll vary from 500 to up to 4,000.

The gravesite is controlled by the Ghobairi municipality, run by the Shia militant and political organisation Hezbollah.


Posters link the massacre to later incidents in the Israeli-Lebanese conflict, including the Qana massacre in 1996 and the July 2006 war.

A few years ago, the site contained the most modest of memorials considering the scale of the 1982 killings - a small cenotaph made with a few dozen breezeblocks - but it has been removed.

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