On this day September 16, 1982
A Lebanese militia under the direct command of Elie Hobeika carried out a massacre in the Palestinian refugee camp of Sabra and Shatila, killing thousand civilians.
The massacre was carried out by the Lebanese Forces Christian militia group in connection with the Israeli Defense Force (IDF), in control of Beirut.
The IDF allowed militiamen to enter two refugee camps, Sabra and Shatila. The exact number killed by the Phalangists is disputed, with estimates ranging from 328 to 3,500.
The Phalangists stood under the direct command of Elie Hobeika, who later became a long-serving Lebanese Member of Parliament and, in the 1990s, a Lebanese cabinet minister.
In June 2001, Chebli Mallat, a left-wing Maronite lawyer, filed a case against Ariel Sharon in Belgium under a law that allowed foreigners to be sued for crimes against humanity. Elie Hobeika publicly declared his intention to testify against Ariel Sharon about his involvement in the Sabra and Shatila massacre in a Belgian court’s trial for crimes against humanity.
Elie Hobeika was killed on 24 January 2002 at the age of 45 in a huge car bomb attack at his house in the Beirut suburb of Hazmiyeh.
The Israeli government established the Kahan Commission to investigate Sharon’s involvement in the Sabra and Shatila massacre, and subsequently found he bore “indirect responsibility”, specifically “for having disregarded the prospect of acts of vengeance and bloodshed by the Phalangists against the population of the refugee camps and for having failed to take this danger into account.”
Sharon resigned from the Defence Ministry, but remained in the cabinet as minister without portfolio.