On Sunday (26 October) the Lebanese civil war appeared to enter a critical new phase as left and right wing gunmen battled for territorial control for the first time in Beirut.
GV PAN FROM Traffic in street TO armoured car on corner of Hamra Street ZOOM INTO street vendors selling goods
SV People buying goods from stall
SV Street vendors displaying goods
SV Armoured car with soldier manning gun
SV Shoes and food on sale (2 shots)
TV PAN Traffic congestion and street dwellers (4 shots)
Initials BB/1855 AB/AW/BB/1905
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Background: On Sunday (26 October) the Lebanese civil war appeared to enter a critical new phase as left and right wing gunmen battled for territorial control for the first time in Beirut.
Until then most of the shooting between the right and left wing and Moslem and Christian warring factions had been carried out across well defined lines and there had been little attempt to seize territory. Since the war erupted seven months ago police say 1,740 people have been killed in Beirut which has a population of 750,000.
But as guns, rockets and mortars blazed away throughout Saturday (25 October) night Reuters said that it became clear that rival groups were fighting to take control of the central Beirut district of Kantari.
Kantari, lying on top of a hill above a fashionable hotel district, has hitherto been regarded as no man's land, with left-wingers on higher ground to the south, Falangists and their allies to the east, with the smart-and up to then neutral-Hamra and Ras Beirut districts to the west.
Because of the chaos caused by the fighting shopping for the city's inhabitants has become a game of chance. Prior to the war shops in fashionable Hamra Street sold the latest fashions from Paris, London and New York -- now it is a haven for street vendors. Shoppers quickly snap up whatever they can rom makeshift stalls set up on the footpaths in front of closed shops.
All facets of life in the city are now geared to wartime conditions and are likely to continue until the situations is resolved and peace comes again to Lebanon.