Lebanese Civil War Rivals End Decades of Hostility

Samir Geagea, leader of the Lebanese Forces group, and Sleiman Frangieh of the Marada Party shook hands at the headquarters of the Maronite Christian church Wednesday

Supporters of Lebanon's Hezbollah carry flags and pictures of Syria's President Bashar Assad in southern Lebanon June 8, 2018
\ AZIZ TAHER/ REUTERS

Two rival Lebanese Christian leaders have reconciled, ending four decades of enmity triggered by a massacre of dozens during Lebanon’s 1975-1990 civil war.

Samir Geagea, leader of the Lebanese Forces group, and Sleiman Frangieh of the Marada Party shook hands at the headquarters of the Maronite Christian church Wednesday.

The reconciliation was sponsored by Cardinal Bechara al-Rai, head of the Maronite church, Lebanon’s largest.

Geagea and Frangieh met in the past, but Wednesday marked the end of a rivalry tainted with blood.

In 1978, members of the main Christian militia killed Frangieh’s father, Tony, as well as his mother and sister and 30 Marda fighters and supporters.

Geagea led the raid in the mountain resort of Ehden but was seriously wounded and withdrew from the operation.