An Unlikely Target

The situation for Americans in Lebanon was worsening in 1986, but Joseph Cicippio thought his low-profile position as acting comptroller of the American University of Beirut made him an unlikely target for terrorists. He was further protected, he believed, by his marriage to a Lebanese woman and his conversion to Islam in 1985. Nonetheless, as he left his campus apartment on Sept. 12, the Norristown, Pa., native was ambushed by four gunmen of the Shi'ite Revolutionary Justice Organization, pistol-whipped and loaded into the trunk of a car. He was the second American to be abducted in Lebanon that week.

Since shortly...

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