Beirut's luxury Holiday Inn Hotel, blackened from numerous fires and scarred by hundreds of bullets, has become a symbol for the rival factional still batting for control of the Lebanese capital.
GV PAN Deserted streets.
SV Gunmen running across road.
GV Closed Royal Canadian Bank.
SV AND TV Snipers firing at hotel. (2 shots)
SVS Gunmen in bunkers firing at Holiday Inn Hotel. (3 shots)
LV Holiday Inn on fire.
SV PAN Gunmen on jeep down street.
SV Gunmen firing from behind sand-bags.
SV Gunmen continue firing.
SV Gunmen fires bazooka.
SCU Firing continues.
LV Gunmen in jeep along street.
SCU Gunmen walking along road.
LV Holiday Inn...burnt out shell.
CU Old Woman
GUNMEN FIRING ON THE HOLIDAY INN HOTEL: GUNMEN FIRING FROM BUNKERS: HOLIDAY INN ON FIRE:GUNMEN FIRING BAZOOKA: BLACKENED HOLIDAY INN: SYNAGOGUE WITH WOMAN TAKING REFUGE INSIDE.
Initials VS 3.30
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Background: Beirut's luxury Holiday Inn Hotel, blackened from numerous fires and scarred by hundreds of bullets, has become a symbol for the rival factional still batting for control of the Lebanese capital.
On Saturday (13 December) at least a hundred people were killed in fierce fighting at the end of a week that had seen the violence escalate to new heights.
The Holiday Inn is still held by the Falangists....the right wing Christian group. The left wing Moslems occupy the neighbouring Phoenicia Hotel and they've been trying to dislodge the Falangists from their strategic stronghold for many weeks.
However, the Falangists have maintained their positions in the 26-storey hotel which is now the key to the sea front battle and possibly the fighting in Beirut as a whole.
Capture of the building would be an immense psychological gain for the leftists, who want to drive the right wingers off the waterfront to allow safe access to the port for the mainly Moslem dock workers.
The general situation in Beirut is in a state of near paralysis. Armed robberies, carried out by gunmen taking advantage of the disintegration of security, have added to the perils of civilian life.
Most embassies are urging their nationals to leave Lebanon, although the journey to the airport is hazardous with daily kidnapping and thefts by armed men manning roadblocks.
It's estimated that about 10 per cent of Lebanon's population of three million have sought refuge in neighbouring Syria and Jordan since factional fighting intensified.
Any prospects for an early end to the latest bloody fighting looked dimmer than ever. Over the weekend Falangists reported that 115 Christians had been massacred in the Bekaa Valley....which lies between the Lebanon Mountains and the Syrian frontier.
SYNOPSIS: The bitter factional violence in the Lebanese capital of Beirut escalated to new heights on Friday and Saturday. Right-wing Christian Falangists and their left wing Moslem opponents are still battling for control of the main sea front hotels...the Holiday Inn and the Phoenicia.
The Moslems now control the Phoenicia, but the Falangists still hold the Holiday Inn, the Phoenicia's 26-storey neighbour.
Despite persistent attempt by the Moslems to force them out, the Falangists have held the Holiday Inn for many weeks.
They regard it as a strategic stronghold, and the hotel has now become a psychological symbol. Observers believe control of the hotel could hold the key to the battle for the seafront....and to the fighting in Beirut as a whole.
Friday's leftist attack on the hotel was one of their strongest surges yet. Fires broke out in many rooms and the billowing smoke could be seen for miles around.
However, the Falangists remained entrenched.
The left wingers want control of the Holiday Inn to ensure safe access to the port for the mainly Moslem dock workers. The general situation in Beirut is in a state of near paralysis, with armed robberies, carried by gunmen taking advantage of the disintegration of security, making life in the capital even more perilous.
Many embassies are urging their nationals to leave Lebanon.
On Saturday the Holiday Inn, blackened by numerous fires and scarred by hundreds of bullets, was still standing and still under Falangist control. Any hopes for an early end to the latest wave of bloody violence have dimmed.
At least a hundred people were killed in the fighting on Saturday along...and thousand are leaving the country -- moving to neighbouring Syria and Jordan.