Every day around sunset, dozens of residents of this small Lebanese Christian village on the border carry their automatic rifles and deploy on surrounding hills, taking up positions and laying ambushes in case Muslim extremists from neighboring Syria attack.
“We all know that if they come, they will slit our throats for no reason,” said one villager as he drove through the streets of Qaa, an assault rifle resting next to him.
For months, Lebanese Christians have watched with dread as other Christians flee Islamic extremists in Syria and Iraq, fearing their turn will come next. Fears multiplied after militants from Syria overran a border town last month, clashing with security forces for days and killing and kidnapping Lebanese soldiers and policemen.
Now, for the first time since the Lebanese civil war ended in 1990, Lebanese Christians are rearming and setting up self-defense units to protect themselves, an indication of the growing anxiety over the expanding reach of radical Islamic groups.