INTRODUCTION: Shelling and rocket fire caused scores caused scores of causalities in Beirut as tension heightened in the Lebanon.
GV NIGHT Rocket launcher firing
GV DAY Scenes of Beirut with smoke rising
GV Damaged car in street
GVs Troops preparing rocket launcher (3 shots)
GVs Rooftop scenes of smoke (3 shots)
GV PAN ACROSS Port showing sunken ships
GV Ship unloading at dockside, PAN TO other ships
SV Crane driver PULL OUT TO unloaded pipes, truck backing, loading cargo (3 shots)
GV Grain unloaded from ship, GV Trucks taking grain away PAN TO ship at dock (2 shots)
GV INTERIOR Hospital scenes, wounded being treated (5 shots)
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Background: INTRODUCTION: Shelling and rocket fire caused scores caused scores of causalities in Beirut as tension heightened in the Lebanon. Diplomatic efforts to settle the conflict have risen to fever pitch following the installation of surface to air missiles by Syria in eastern Lebanon after Israeli jets shot down two helicopters used by the all-Syrian Arab Deterrent Force. Latest reports said missiles had been fired at Israeli planes but the aircraft returned to base.
SYNOPSIS: Meanwhile, in Beirut, leftist gunners in the predominantly Moslem West part of the city continued to fire Soviet-made BM-21 artillery rockets at the Christian Militia in the East. Military commanders claimed the attack were in answer to right-wing Phalangist shelling of civilian areas. Observers reported shells falling in residential areas on both sides of the city.
The latest fighting coincide with the visit of an American envoy to the areas seeking to prevent a Syrian-Israeli conflict. Both sides agreed that the fighting was linked with the visit of envoy Philip Habib arrived in the Lebanon on Thursday (7 May). Mr. Habib, who left the Lebanon for Israel on Monday (11 May), was holding talks with Israeli Premier Menachem Begin on the missile crisis.
Some 47 people were reported killed and about 300 injured over the four days of fighting during Mr. Habib's visit. Each side attacked the other over the envoy's peace proposals. The conflict spread outwards to residential areas forcing people to seek safer places to live.
With the airport being closed to all traffic since April 22 except for the occasional Red Cross mercy mission flying urgent medical supplies from Geneva, the port of Beirut has assumed even more importance. The harbour has been re-opened after closure during the civil war in 1975/76. The new pier is bustling.
But the prospect of an early ceasefire has been virtually ruled out until the crises over the anti-aircraft missiles has been settled. Mr. Begin and other leaders made it clear there would be an attack on the missile if Mr. Habib's peace mission failed.
Diplomats believed that as long as Mr. Habib remained on Israeli soil Mr. Begin would refrain from ordering Israeli forces into action. But latest reports that the missiles had been fired have thrown even this surmise into doubt.
Whatever the results of the diplomatic manoeuvring, the grim in the Lebanon continues to exact its toll. Even if a compromise can be achieved between Israel and Syria, South Lebanon faces a difficult time. Palestinian guerrillas have stepped up their Katyusha rocket attacks across the border into Israel and although these have inflicted few serious casualties they constitute a provocation to which the Begin administration is expected to respond. Meanwhile, Syria is said to be prepared a battlefield in the Lebanon in readiness for an Israeli attack.