Hours after the Israeli forces enter West Beirut, Phalangist militiamen begin a massacre of Palestinians at the Sabra and Shatila refugee camps. Within two days, 1,000 men, women, and children were dead. The Phalangists, a Christian faction in Lebanon, were closely allied with Israel. After entering West Beirut, Israeli commanders ordered the Phalangists into the refugee camps in search of terrorists, even though the militiamen were known to be enraged at the Palestinians for the recent murder of their leader. Israel later condemned the massacre and denied any responsibility. On September 29, a United Nations peacekeeping force returned to Lebanon to prevent more bloodshed.