INTRODUCTION: United Nations hopes for easing the tension in Lebanon received a setback on Wednesday (18 March) when a meeting between the UN military leader General William Callaghan and the commander of Israel's northern front, General Avigdor Ben Gal, failed to reach agreement on settlement proposals.
GV ZOOM IN Cars travelling around Al Basta Tahta roundabout
GV Car travelling fast at roundabout and man running across road PAN BACK TO car driving away
SV Two men and child running across road
GV Two people on motorcycle speeding past, men running across road
GV Man with brief-case running
GV Cars entering roundabout as man runs across road PAN TO car driving off
GV Men running across road
GV Cars travelling past roundabout (2 shots)
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Background: INTRODUCTION: United Nations hopes for easing the tension in Lebanon received a setback on Wednesday (18 March) when a meeting between the UN military leader General William Callaghan and the commander of Israel's northern front, General Avigdor Ben Gal, failed to reach agreement on settlement proposals. Israeli officials said General Ben Gal had noted the UN leaders' requests, but said nothing about his response. Tension had grown with the killing on Monday of two UN soldiers by Lebanese Rightist militia troops, who are backed by Israel.
SYNOPSIS: Tension was particularly high along the "Green Line" which divides predominantly Moslem West Beirut from the Christian East. Shooting across this line had intensified, with gunmen using multi-storey office blocks as firing platforms. People using the busy Al Basta Tahta roundabout scuttled for cover as shooting broke out.
Violence caused several deaths and the closure of all but one of the three main crossing points between Moslem and Christian sectors. At the Sodeco crossing, snipers had shot at least six travellers in a week. The only crossing then still in use was near the old national museum, and this had become very congested, military officials said. And the risks were all too real -- with no dispensation for the young.
Life in Beirut has been complicated by the presence of a group of Palestine Liberation Army (PLO) troops within the Syrian peacekeeping forces deployed there. The group has blamed the deaths on Christian snipers. However, Moslem residents in the area said they didn't believe the Christians were responsible. They claimed the Syrian forces were reviving tension in the centre for their own ends.
The Christian militia on Thursday (19 March) sent a Lebanese Army prisoner back to his leaders, with a letter suggesting that the army concentrate on liberating the country from Syria and the Palestinians.