Left-wing forces overran the strategic Holiday Inn, in one of the major right-wing areas of Beirut on Sunday (21 March).
GV Holiday Inn
GV People running in street
Man firing rocket in street
SV Doctor helping injured people lying behind gunmen
GV Gunmen running through streets
GV Injured gunmen being carried to safety by comrades (2 shots)
Injured gunmen drive through streets in jeep
GV Armoured car driving through streets
GV Gunmen watching as flag is carried past barricade
GV Gunmen outside Holiday Inn hotel (2 shots)
GV Gunmen in Beirut street (2 shots)
LV Women walking past gunmen
GV Troops in front of Holiday Inn hotel (5 shots)
Initials BB/0245 JA/PN/BB/0315
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Background: Left-wing forces overran the strategic Holiday Inn, in one of the major right-wing areas of Beirut on Sunday (21 March).
The take over of the Holiday Inn by left-wing gunmen came amidst renewed fighting in the war torn capital of Lebanon between left-wing Moslem gunmen end right-wing Christian militia.
The Holiday Inn commands a panoramic view of Beirut and those gunmen controlling the hotel have an excellent vantage pint from which to rain down rocket and mortar fire on enemy positions.
The Holiday Inn was formerly amongst the leading tourist hotels in Lebanon -- now it stands, burnt out, ransacked and racked by rocket and mortar fire.
The left-wing gunmen forced the right-wing militia from the former luxury hotel by ceaselessly pounding a barrage of rockets and shells into the building for several hours.
Left-wing troops celebrated their take over of the multi-storied building by flinging the twisted body of a right-wing gunman out of a fourth floor window.
Left-wing forces now control the three major hotels in Beirut, providing them with an important psychological boost over their right-wing rivals.
SYNOPSIS: The Holiday Inn, once the resort of the rich and famous who came to Beirut for their vacations. But now the former luxury hotel stands burnt out and ransacked, testimony to the violence that has swept through the Lebanese capital.
The Holiday Inn became a focal point in the renewed fighting between Moslem left-wing forces and right-wing Christian groups. The right-wing forces formerly held the hotel but on Sunday left-wing gunmen racked the building with heavy rocket and mortar bombs. Under the barrage of fire the right-wing militia were forced to retreat.
The multi-storied hotel commands a panoramic view of the war torn capital and provides a fine vantage point for gunmen to direct rocket and mortar fire down upon enemy positions.
The left-wing forces have already gained control of the other two multi-storied hotels in Beirut and were determined to take the Holiday Inn. They brought in armoured cars from which they fired barrages of rockets at the hotel.
The right-wing gunmen in the hotel were forced at last to pull out leaving the way open for the left-wing militia to take over.
Before last December, the sea front area where the hotel is situated was considered to be one of the strong-holds of the right-wing Christian groups.
But then left-wing gunmen began organised offensive against the right-wing forces.
One by one the hotels in the area fell to the left-wing militia and only the Holiday Inn -- the tallest of the sea front hotels -- was still firmly in the hands of the right-wing. Now that it has also fallen to the left-wing offensive there appears little hope of the right-wing troops ever regaining their position of power on Beirut's sea front.