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House Honors Victims of Beirut Bombings

Issa led the moment of silence for the Beirut victims. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)
Issa led the moment of silence for the Beirut victims. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The House paused Wednesday night to pay tribute to the lives lost at the hands of the Islamic State terror group in Beirut, Lebanon.  

Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., stood with members of the US-Lebanese Friendship Caucus, which he chairs, in the Well of the House to lead lawmakers in a moment of silence to honor the 43 victims who were killed when two suicide bombers attacked Beirut on Nov. 12. “In addition to those lost in France on Nov. 13, and over Egypt on Oct. 31, almost 400 murders have been claimed by ISIS in the period of less than two weeks,” Issa said on the floor. He urged his colleagues to sign onto a resolution introduced Wednesday condemning the Beirut attack and pledging support for Lebanon.  

Issa, whose grandparents were Lebanese immigrants, added that they also “urge the administration to do everything in its power to bring those responsible to justice.”  

As he exited the floor, Issa told CQ Roll Call that he asked Speaker Paul D. Ryan’s office about a moment of silence and the speaker and his office were quick to respond and organize the moment. On Monday, Ryan led the House in a moment of silence to honor the victims of the terrorist attacks in Paris, France, on Nov. 13.  

“It’s a reminder of the broad array of Christians and Muslims and Jews that have been targeted by ISIS,” Issa said. “Each of these attacks has had a different mix but all of them have been against innocent civilians, in France, over Egypt, obviously in Lebanon. We specifically mentioned the 400 because there’s an array of attacks and they continue.”  

Some have criticized a lack of media coverage of the Beirut bombings compared to the attacks in Paris. Issa explained that the nature of the settings and the attacks may account for lopsided coverage.  

“On a per capita basis, the attacks in Lebanon were far more devastating, [as a] percentage of population. But Lebanon is a less significant economic power, it was less visible, less televised. And, candidly, a one-time bombing is an event that happens and then people suffer,” Issa said.  

“I think it’s very different than the drama of live television and tweeting and so on,” he continued. “And so I think when people look at the two events, they were logically different. A terrorist attack that starts and ends quickly versus the hours of people continuing with their bombs, taking hostages and so on.”  

Issa also emphasized that the lawmakers wanted to acknowledge the scores of lives lost recently as a result of several terrorist attacks.  

“This is part of an awareness,” Issa said. “And today we didn’t just talk about Lebanon. We specifically wanted to make sure that we brought into perspective the hundreds of lives lost in the last two weeks at the hands of these terrorists.”  

Ryan Holds Moment of Silence for Victims of Paris Attacks

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