Rival Christian and Moslem gunmen fought a bitter battle on Monday (8 December) for mastery of Beirut's smart hotels and high rise office blocks.
Rival Christian and Moslem gunmen fought a bitter battle on Monday (8 December) for mastery of Beirut's smart hotels and high rise office blocks. The fighting left at least 70 people dead -- and scores more wounded -- including Visnews staff cameraman Noel Alexandre who shot this film under heavy fire.
The Christians, led by the right-wing Falangists were holding a defence line around their strongholds in the fashionable commercial district.
Ranged against them was the Moslem Independent Nasserite Movement, whose forces have led the leftist drive along the sea front. The Nasserites were joined by Palestinian guerrillas and Lebanese Communist Party militia.
The fighting reached a new level of violence with rival gunmen sometimes only yards from each other, as mortars, rockets and heavy machine guns blasted their positions.
All appeals by the government for a new ceasefire were ignored by both sides. And for the first time Lebanon's Prime Minister, Rashid Karami described the situation as a "civil war".