Fourteen United States and Italian soldiers have been injured in the worst spate of violence against the four-nation peacekeeping force since it was stationed in Beirut last September.
1. GV U.S. Marines on alert on coastal road in Ouzai area of Beirut. (3 shots) 0.11
2. GV U.S. Marines and Lebanese security guarding road. 0.13
3. SV & CU Car damaged in attack. (2 shots) 0.18
4. GV & CU Explosives and ammunition found in captured jeep. (2 shots) 0.40
5. SV Suspects in Lebanese security forces van. (2 shots) 0.51
6. GV U.S. armoured vehicle maintaining road block. 1.00
7. GV Patrolling helicopter. 1.09
8. GV Traffic along road blocked by forces. 1.15
9. GVs Italian guarding outskirts of Ouzai area. (3 shots) 1.41
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Background: BEIRUT, LEBANON
Fourteen United States and Italian soldiers have been injured in the worst spate of violence against the four-nation peacekeeping force since it was stationed in Beirut last September. The attacks, both near Beirut airport happened on the night of March 15 and the morning of March 16. Five U.S. Marines were hurt in the morning assault when a hand grenade was hurled at their 12-man patrol driving through the southern suburb of Ouzai, just north of the Marine base at Beirut airport. A spokesman said later all their injuries were superficial but the victims had been airlifted to the helicopter carrier U.S.S. Guadalcanal, lying off the Mediterranean coast, for medical tests. Moments after the grenade blast Lebanese Army soldiers cordoned off the area. Later they captured a jeep loaded with explosives and ammunition, arresting four suspects. In a separate incident the night before, two jeeps full of Italian troops were attacked with small arms on the airport road. Italian sources said that when paratroops went to search for the assailants they also came under fire and a gun-battle followed. Nine Italian were injured; one officer lost his foot when he was hit by a riffle-launched grenade. Two soldiers were temporarily paralysed and had emergency surgery at an Italian field hospital.
Source: REUTERS - MOHAMMED AWWAD/TEWFIC GHAZZAWI