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In the limelight

The status that Colonel Kanaan had earned as a Commander of the 5th Brigade and the spirit of trust and dignity that he emanated around him had earned him the respect and admiration of all his subordinates as well as his superiors in the Lebanese Army, and reawakened a long-term lost feeling of pride in the hearts of all the civilians that knew and loved the man.

Everyone, and most of all his superiors, saw in him one of the pillars around which a better future of dignity and prosperity for a reunited Lebanon would be built, with the reassuring role of the trusted Army.

But at the same time, this caused a threat, that those who saw in him and in his spirit an obstacle to their thirst for sheer power, couldn't bear. They started secretly plotting for his elimination.

On 27 September 1986, the fight for power between rival Christian militia war-lords had torn up the region of Ashrafieh. The Lebanese Army played a decisive role in pushing back those that had infiltrated the region from the Syria-controlled Western side of Beirut. The status of the militiamen based in the Eastern side had significantly weakened in regard to the Lebanese Army troops. In the afternoon of 28 September, executing an order from the Army's main command, officers from the 5th Brigade posted in Monteverde, prohibited with intransigence militiamen from creating their own checkpoint, just beyond the Army's regular checkpoint on a military road. Human casualties were incurred in the clash. The group decided to strike back in its own way...

29th September, 1:45am

At 1:45am, in the night of 28-29 September 1986, armed militiamen entered Colonel Kanaan's house while he was asleep, and shot him in his bed. He was killed by the 28 bullets that pierced his body. The evil mind that had organized such a cowardly crime had one more time proven its addiction to killing valued leaders in a way that betrays all ethical values and sacredness. Colonel Kanaan's wife Mona was shot with him and miraculously survived the 19 bullets that had hit her.

An atmosphere of extreme condemnation and indignation swept the country on 29 September, upon hearing the shocking news. Members of the Lebanese Army and friends of Colonel Kanaan could barely control their rage, they flocked in large numbers to Colonel Kanaan's family house in Jdeidet el Metn showing their indignation.
(Official death announcement)

On the next day a huge crowd gathered at the Mar Sarkis and Bakhos church in Jdeidet El Metn to give their farewell to a man that embodied courage, chivalry and honor. Various Army divisions participated in the funeral procession, with military mourning music being continuously played. The officers of the 5th Brigade carried the coffin of their Commander, presenting their homage to their murdered and beloved one, and showing their deepest respect to an exceptional man and leader.
(Photo gallery 6: Funeral).

Representatives of the President of the Republic, Prime Minister, President of the Assembly and Maronite Patriarch attended the funeral, as well as Members of Parliament, prominent political personalities and Army Commanders and comrades.
(Read the Maronite Patriarch's incisive funeral oration and the Army's official farewell speech)

To honor his great sacrifice, on the next day of his assasssination, he was first upgraded to Brigadier General with retroactive effect (as per 1 July 1986) - a title that he had duly earned before his martyrdom - and upgraded to Major General (Liwaa).

The judiciary and criminal files related to the assassination were never properly activated by the successive authority instances.

General Kanaan's distinctions:

- The felicitations of the Army Commander in 1959
- The Memorial Medal in 1961
- The Bronze Medal for Lebanese merit, in 1972
- The Silver Medal for Lebanese merit, in 1983
- The Medal of National Cedars, Commander degree in 1983
- The Golden Medal for Lebanese Merit, after his martyrdom
- The Medal of War after his martyrdom
- The Medal of the Wounded after his martyrdom