Meet the Town That Stands for Christian Courage in the Face of Evil

Lebanese army soldiers patrol near a church outside which suicide bombers blew themselves up in the Christian village of Qaa, in the Bekaa valley, Lebanon June 28, 2016.
Lebanese army soldiers patrol near a church outside which suicide bombers blew themselves up in the Christian village of Qaa, in the Bekaa valley, Lebanon June 28, 2016. (REUTERS/Hassan Abdallah)

On the morning of June 27, 2016, Yosef Farris awoke, like most in the Christian town of Qaa, around 4:10 am to the sound of an explosion. A policeman, he rushed toward the town center. On the way, he heard a second explosion. Then a third. By the time he arrived at the scene of the explosions, he saw what little remained of his brother, George.

Moments before, George, a Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) veteran, had tackled one of the suicide bombers to the ground. The bomber then detonated his bomb, killing them both. George almost certainly saved lives, but his wife Donia, standing nearby, was critically wounded in the blast. Yousef rushed to his sister-in-law, whose torso had been ripped apart. Moments later, a fourth suicide bomber emerged, who was shot and wounded, though he still managed to detonate his vest, injuring several more citizens of Qaa.

By 4:30 am, the town had endured four suicide bombers in an area of perhaps 50 yards. The attacks claimed five lives, including George's, and wounded 19.

The terrorists weren't finished. Several hours later, as Qaa was tending to its wounded and mourning its losses, four more suicide bombers attacked, this time closer to the town center, where a statue of St. Elias stands. The police suspected they'd been hiding in a nearby alleyway. The first ran past the statue toward St. Elias church. Seeing that he was a terrorist, policemen shot him dead. Three more emerged in rapid succession, blowing themselves up and wounding 13 more residents.

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