File - The Ain al-Rummaneh bus is displayed at the Hangar site in Haret Hreik, Thursday, April 12, 2012. (The Daily Star/Mohammad Azakir)
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On Sunday, April 13, 1975, I went to work as usual to The Daily Star offices located near my house, some 300 meters from Riad al-Solh Square in Downtown Beirut.Many Lebanese Muslim leaders later acknowledged that the decision to isolate the Kataeb Party from the government was a big mistake because it deepened sectarian divisions at a time when the country's Muslims and Christians were sharply split over the sensitive issue of the armed Palestinian presence in Lebanon.In the eyes of many Lebanese, particularly the leading Christian parties, the Palestinian military presence in Lebanon was the spark that triggered the 1975-90 Civil War.A few years before the war broke out, pitting Muslim and leftist militiamen backed by Palestinian factions against Kataeb and other Christian fighters, tension was building up across Lebanon over the influx of arms and gunmen into the Palestinian refugee camps in Beirut and other areas, in defiance of Lebanese state authority and sovereignty. The Kataeb Party and other Christian factions were the first to sound the alarm about the dire consequences of the proliferation of armed Palestinian presence in the country and called on the Lebanese Army to intervene to put an end to it.
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