An International Red Cross convoy trying to evacuate wounded form the besieged Palestinian Tel Al-Zaatar camp in Lebanon had to turn back on Monday (5 July) because of shellfire on the road.
SV People saying goodbye in Beirut.
GV Cars leaving in convoy.
SV People waving from pavement.
SV PAN Cars along road followed by armed troops on trucks.
The attempted evacuation form the besieged Palestinian Tel Al-Zaatar camp was mounted to bring out some of the 220 wounded in the camp, 80 of then in a serious condition. Eyewitnesses said the 20 trucks in the Red Cross convoy were about one mile (1.5 kms) form the hilltop camp in the city's rightist-held eastern sector when shellfire struck the road ahead of them. The convoy then returned to West Beirut and it is not known whether a further attempt will be made to rescue the wounded from the camp which has been under a right-wing siege for two weeks. But in spite of the attempt it is not known whether the Palestinians would agree to leaving the camp which has become a symbol of what they regard as the Palestinians struggle for survival. Palestinian officials said the camp is under critical pressure but added the defenders beat back fresh rightist attacks on Sunday (4 July). Heavy fighting is also continuing on other traditional battle fronts in beirut and elsewhere in Lebanon.
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Background: An International Red Cross convoy trying to evacuate wounded form the besieged Palestinian Tel Al-Zaatar camp in Lebanon had to turn back on Monday (5 July) because of shellfire on the road. The convoy left the ICRC headquarters in West Beirut after both left and right wingers agreed to the evacuation. But one civilian evacuation the previous day (4 July) was successful.
SYNOPSIS: About 220 foreign residents of Beirut said final goodbyes to friends before leaving the Lebanese capital in a convoy organised by the West German embassy.
The convoy of 60 cars wound its way out of Beirut en route for Damascus in neighbouring Syria. About a dozen nationalities were represented on the convoy. Many of those leaving have weathered over a year of shelling and gun battles as the civil war has raged in Beirut. But the recent breakdown in electricity, water supplies and other general services has been the deciding factor for evacuation.
Hundreds of other foreigners have already left the Lebanese capital either in overland convoys to Syria or in seaborne evacuations organised by the American and Soviet embassies. The West German convoy was escorted by jeep loads of troops of the Palestinian Fatah commando organisation.