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Americans Still in Lebanon Believed to Be Under 1,000

September 11, 1986|Associated Press

WASHINGTON — Only a small number of Americans remain in Lebanon, the State Department says, but an Arab-American spokesman estimated the figure to be more than 1,000, including many individuals with dual citizenship.

"We're not giving out the figures on private Americans for security reasons," department spokeswoman Ruth Van Heuven said. "There are very few."

She said that many of the Americans remaining hold both Lebanese and American citizenship or are married to Lebanese.

In April, 1985, an official at the U.S. Embassy in Beirut estimated the number of Americans to be 1,400. Lebanese-Americans made up the majority.

David Saad, executive director of the National Assn. of Arab Americans, said many Americans who were born in Lebanon go back frequently. "They are always back and forth," he said.

The State Department's travel advisory warns Americans of "extremely hazardous" conditions, including kidnaping and terrorist attacks.

Before the civil war broke out in 1976, Lebanon was considered the jewel of the Middle East with more than 12,000 Americans living there.

The State Department will not say how many Americans work at the embassy in Christian East Beirut.

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