Mourabitoun militiamen closed their offices in West Beirut on Wednesday (12 November) in an attempt to defuse the tense situation caused by two days of clashes between rival left-wing factions last week.
SV PAN AND CU Armed militiamen in Beirut watch as colleagues remove flag from outside office (2 shots)
SV AND CU Slogan removed from lamp-post bearing Gamal Abdel Nasser's portrait (4 shots)
SV Militiamen watch as "No Parking" signs are removed (3 shots)
SV Sign removed from office balcony
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Background: Mourabitoun militiamen closed their offices in West Beirut on Wednesday (12 November) in an attempt to defuse the tense situation caused by two days of clashes between rival left-wing factions last week. In twelve hours of fighting, at least nine people were killed and twelve wounded as gunmen battled in the streets with mortars, rockets and automatic weapons.
SYNOPSIS: Fighting between Al Mourabitoun, the main Sunni Moslem militia, and members of the Nationalist Social Party (NSP), erupted after a traffic incident on 5 November. The President of the Lebanese Vegetable Sellers' Union and father of a Mourabitoun militia officer, Mounir Fatha, was killed during a driving dispute with a senior NSP official Beschir Obeid. Mourabitoun gunmen attacked Mr. Obeid's home, killing three people, and a war of revenge between the two factions broke out on the streets of West Beirut.
Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) leader Yasser Arafat held urgent talks with leaders from both sides in a bid to arrange a truce, as units from the All-Syrian Arab Deterrent Force, backed by armoured vehicles, moved in to try to end the fighting. The decision by Mourabitoun leaders to close their offices on Wednesday indicates the ceasefire is uneasy, with tension still running high between Beirut's left-wing political factions.