President Suleiman Franjieh held doggedly to office on Monday (29 March), but leftwing forces demanding his resignation made new advances in Lebanon's fierce civil war.
GV Bullet-riddled Hilton hotel.
SV INTERIOR Muslims firing from Hilton hotel.
GV Damaged buildings and debris in streets (4 shots)
GV INTERIOR PAN from Muslims to bodies of dead Christians on floor inside Hilton (3 shots)
SV Muslims breaking window and firing at Christians from Hilton. (5 shots)
Initials RH/0237 RH/DE/PNG/0240
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Background: President Suleiman Franjieh held doggedly to office on Monday (29 March), but leftwing forces demanding his resignation made new advances in Lebanon's fierce civil war.
After their capture of the Hilton Hotel from righting forces in Beirut on Sunday (28 March), the leftists stood within striking distance of the capital's Christian heartland.
The capture of the hotel, which dominates the route along the capital's seafront, pushed the Phalangists frontline still further back towards their stronghold in the east.
The Hilton victory also gave fresh force to the demands for the resignation of President Franjieh, a Maronite Chirstian, backed by the rightist forces.
The hotel, the last of the seaside hotels in the former playground of the rich to fall to the left forces, was left devastated. Broken glass littered the floors and empty shell cases were strewn around. Bodies of the last Christian defenders lay in the lobby.
SYNOPSIS: The luxury Hilton hotel in the Lebanese capital, Beirut, which fell to left-wing forces on Monday night. It is within striking distance of the Christian stronghold, and dominates the route along the seafront.
After the battle for control, the bodies of Christian defenders lay in the lobby. Much of the building, which was not finished before fighting started, was devastated.
Leftwing gunmen smashed plate glass windows to get a clear line of fire across the Bay of St Georges towards their right-wing adversaries in the docks. The Hilton victory has given fresh force to the leftwing demands for the resignation of President Suleiman Franjieh. But he continued to cling to power in spite of the leftist advances.