The streets of Lebanon's capital, Beirut, were deserted but for group of armed soldiers and armoured vehicles on Thursday (3 May) as fighting continued between government troops and Palestinian commando units.
GV PAN..Ambulance through streets past soldiers crouched behind wall
SV Soldier on street corner
GV Building where suspected terrorists are holding out on ???
LV Armoured vehicle firing heavy machine gun
CU Soldier TILT UP to schoolchildren crossing road
GV Armoured personnel carrier through streets, armed men stop
MV Armed troops running down street
MV Open truck with armed men, one heave mouted machine gun
LV & GV Refugee camp burning
GV Tank taking position near camp
GV Troops in and around dugout overlooking city, near refugee camp
CU Burned-out car ZOOM IN to tank on nearby hill
SV Tank firing heavy machine gun
LV Pillar od smoke over city
Initials ES.1330 ES. 1355
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Background: The streets of Lebanon's capital, Beirut, were deserted but for group of armed soldiers and armoured vehicles on Thursday (3 May) as fighting continued between government troops and Palestinian commando units.
The tense confrontation between the army and the commandos basing themselves in refugee centres ringing Beirut, was fanned by unconfirmed reports of Palestine Liberation Army (PLA) units marching into Lebanon from Syria.
The reports followed a statement from the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) in Cairo that it had asked its troops in Syria to stand by to protect Palestinians in Lebanon.
About 50 people were reported dead by Thursday after two days of clashes -- but there were fears of much higher casualties as Lebanese army jets, tanks and artillery were reported to be attacking the refugee camps.
Fighting broke out in Beirut on Wednesday when Palestinian commandos kidnapped two Lebanese soldiers -- apparently as hostages for detained guerrillas -- and Lebanon responded by selling off the entrances to the Sabra and Shatilla refugee camps outside the city.
A truce arranged Wednesday night broke down within hours as the Lebanese jets strafed the refugee camps.
The army said the raids on the camps were to silence gunfire aimed at airports, hospitals and heavily populated areas.
Lebanon's President Suleiman Franjieh warned on Thursday that although Lebanon offered residence to the commandos and refugees, it would not tolerate "anarym of occupation" in the country.
The PLO, announcing its preparations to send men into Lebanon, said it suspected an attempt to liquidate the guerrillas in Lebanon.
Algeria stepped into the conflict on Thursday, warning Lebanon against a repeat of the 'Black September' campaign against Palestine commandos by Jordan in 1970.
The PLA, a 10,000-man force in Syria, was founded in 1965 and falls under the command of the PLO. It was not clear whether guerrillas in Beirut who touched off the conflict were acting under PLO command. The PLA troops reported crossing the Lebanon-Syrian border, were tentatively identified as members of the Yarmouk Brigade, armed with Soviet-made light tanks, anti-aircraft guns and artillery.
SYNOPSIS: Only army and emergency vehicles moved in Beirut, the Lebanese capital, on Thursday amid the tension of fighting between palestinian commandos and government troops.
Commandos were believed hiding at strategic locations throughout the city, basing their operations in suburban refugee ???. The ??? was meeting them with masses of troops and heavy machine guns.
The fitting in Beirut started Wednesday when commandos kidnapped two Lebanese soldiers as hostages for release of imprisoned commandos. The clashes between the Palestinians and the army were overshadowed by rumours of intervention by units of the strong Palestine Liberation Army, based in neighbouring Syria.
The situation worsened Thursday as amy jets began to strafe the refugee camps that ring the city. Tanks and armoured personnel carries moved in to surround the burning camps -- home to thousands of Palestinian refugees.
Several Middle East countries have offered to arrange a truce between the Palestinians and Lebanon. But Lebanon said it would not tolerate a Palestinian army in Lebanon, and the Palestinians have charged that Lebanon is trying to liquidate them.