Leftist street forces launched fresh, violent assaults on right-wing Christian positions in Beirut on Monday (29 March), forcing the Christian lines to the edge of the city's seafront district.
GV Street littered with rubble (2 shots)
LV Building burning as troops look on and gunfire and explosions in distance
CU Tanks standing by
SV Troops guard entrance to general post office
SV INT Switchboard personnel working in pyjamas on international board (2 shots)
SV PAN DOWN Bullet scarred Hilton hotel ZOOM TO gunmen firing in street
SV Gunmen firing from bunker (2 shots)
GV Wreckage in street with armed men standing on corner
SV ZOOM OUT FROM Body of woman TO street scene
Initials BB/1930 GB/AW/BB/1945
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Background: Leftist street forces launched fresh, violent assaults on right-wing Christian positions in Beirut on Monday (29 March), forcing the Christian lines to the edge of the city's seafront district.
The leftwing gunmen now hold positions within striking district of Beirut's strongest Christian areas.
The capture of the Hilton Hotel by the leftists -- although four Christian gunmen are holding out on the top three floors -- means the Moslems now control a multi-storey building only 900 yards (850 metres) from the headquarters of the rightwing Falangist party headquarters.
The streets of Beirut's central business district are littered with rubble -- and, in some areas, dead bodies.
The continuing leftist advances are giving more force to the demands for the resignation of Lebanese President Suleiman Franjieh, who is still doggedly holding his office.
SYNOPSIS: Streets littered with rubble -- an everyday scene in Beirut. But the Lebanon's 11-month-old civil war reached unprecedented heights of violence during the past week as leftist street forces launched fresh attacks on rightwing Christian strongholds. The leftwing Moslem gunmen have virtually forced the Christians out of the city's seafront area, and now hold positions within striking distance of the heart of Beirut's Christian districts.
Life is virtually at a standstill in Beirut. Most public services have been brought to a halt. One of the few still functioning--on a limited scale--is the general post office. A skeleton staff operates the international telephone switchboard around the clock. The rest of the staff has fled.
The leftist now virtually control the Hilton Hotel--four rightist gunmen are still holding out on the top three floors -- but it seems only a matter of time before they're removed. The Hilton is just 300 yards from the headquarters of the rightwing Falangist Party. Bitter and bloody street fighting continues unabated, as the leftwing forces push the Christians back. Bunkers still dominate the streets in the seafront area.
The new gains by the leftwing gunmen have increased demands for the resignation of Lebanese President Suleiman Franjieh, but he still holds doggedly to his office. Partial ceasefires are being discussed so the country's Parliament can meet, but at this stage nothing has been settled.