The destruction of nearly two thirds of its fleet would have been enough to kill any other airline but Middle East Airlines was made of tougher stuff and as the situation inside Lebanon went from bad to worse it would need every ounce of resilience to stay in operation. Nevertheless despite its losses in 1968 a replacement fleet was just around the corner.
Following the 1968 retaliatory Israeli strike the situation within Lebanon failed to improve. In fact things got worse as the Lebanese military failed to rest control of the Palestinian camps from the militants and the resulting 1969 Cairo agreement created a situation where the militants were tolerated and in fact controlled the populous refugee camps. Worse the PLO leadership was forced to flee Jordan in 1970, following a failed coup attempt. They setup their new base in Lebanon fueling cross-border violence with Israel. They were not alone and many terrorits groups called Lebanon home, including Black September which undertook the infamous 1972 Munich Olympics attack.
This would lead to an escalation of tensions in Lebanon, further Israeli attacks and a spiral towards all out civil war which would test MEA even further than the destruction of its fleet had. In part 3 we'll chart MEA's survival into the 1980s and beyond.