Rescuers probe the wreckage of the US Marine barracks in Beirut. Image Credit: Gulf News Archives

1983 - In Beirut, lone drivers on clockwork suicide missions slammed trucks loaded with explosives into a US Marines’ headquarters building and a French peacekeeping post 5km away, killing more than 242 Marines and 58 French paratroopers. The attacks occurred within one minute of each other, while most of the US and French soldiers were sleeping, sending two claps of thunder across Beirut. The bomb that ripped the Marines’ compound and knocked Marines in adjacent companies out of their bunks left a crater 10 metres deep and 40 metres wide. A group calling itself the Free Islamic Revolution Movement, previously unknown, telephoned the news agency to claim responsibility for the attacks.

Other major events on October 23

1944 Soviet army invades Hungary.

1953 Federal Constitution of Rhodesia and Nyasaland goes into effect.

1980 Soviet prime minister Alexei Kosygin resigns due to ill health.

1985 Emirates airline is formally launched in Dubai.

1989 Hungary is officially proclaimed a free republic following the end of communist rule.

1993 An IRA bomb explodes on a crowded shopping street in Belfast, killing 10 people.

1994 Sri Lankan leader Gamini Dissanayake is assassinated in a bomb blast in Colombo.

1998 A Palestinian-Israeli interim peace accord is signed at the White House.

2003 Madame Chiang Kai-shek, widow of the Chinese nationalist leader, dies in New York at age 105.

2004 A suicide car bomb explodes near a US marine base in western Iraq, killing 16 Iraqi policemen.

2011 A 7.2-magnitude earthquake strikes eastern Turkey, killing more than 200 people.

2013 China and India sign an agreement to boost meetings between their militaries.

2014 A bomb blast at a bus station in Azare, Nigeria, kills five people.