Commercial airliners flew in and out of Beirut airport, Lebanon, today (24 June), reopened yesterday (23 June) after a shut-down of more than two weeks.
GV: main airport buildings (2 shots)
GV: Libyan troops in trucks on airport apron roads (3 shots)
SV: men returning to work at airport (2 shots)
SV: Zouhier Moushen touring airport
GV: aircraft along runway after landing as troops in trucks look on
LV: troops walking along tarmac
SV: people leave aircraft and are met by newsmen (2 shots)
SV: troops around aircraft
Under a truce agreed after strenuous mediation efforts by Libyan premier Abdel Salam Jalloud, the Syrians were also due to move back from forward positions near the hill town of Sofar, southeast of Beirut and from Sidon, within the next few days. The Syrians are due to withdraw to the eastern and northern part of Lebanon, although the leftists and Palestinians say they want the Syrians to leave the country altogether.
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Background: Commercial airliners flew in and out of Beirut airport, Lebanon, today (24 June), reopened yesterday (23 June) after a shut-down of more than two weeks.
SYNOPSIS: The airport started to function again as Syrian peace-keeping forces withdrew from the outskirts of Beirut and were replaced by Libyan soldiers, sent to Lebanon a??? part of an Arab International Peace Force. Less than four miles (six kilometres) from the airport fighting raged between right-wing forces and leftist defenders of two Palestinian refugee camps.
Syrian-backed Saica guerrilla group leader Zouhier Mouhsen toured the airport shortly before the commercial aircraft started to land - and troops were very much in evidence everywhere. Rightists, whose hilltop gun positions overlook the runways, have said that ??? aircraft are used to ??? weapons into Lebanon they ??? "stop" them. Rightist artillery was a principal cause of Middle East Airlines deciding to stop risking their jets into Beirut. Since the reopening they are still not keeping the planes at the airport overnight.
Eyewitnesses at the airport quoted by Reuters said that the crew of the first plane to land had kept the option to abort the landing open up to the last moment, in case they received word from air controllers of shelling taking piacs at or near the airport.