Throughout Friday (9 January) right-wing Falangist gunmen kept up their blockade against a Palestinian refugee camp in the south-eastern suburbs of Beirut, despite fierce efforts by the Palestinians and their Moslem allies to break through.
SV Gunmen boarding truck and truck moving off (3 shots)
SV TRAVEL SHOT Truck with gunmen holding guns (3 shots)
CU Gunman looking through binoculars and gunman firing gun mounted on back of truck (2 shots)
SV PAN Gunmen running between hedges
SV & CU Gunmen firing over parapet (2 shots)
SV Gunmen firing mortars (3 shots)
CU & SV Gunmen firing over parapet of building (2 shots)
GV Pall of smoke rising from Beirut
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Background: Throughout Friday (9 January) right-wing Falangist gunmen kept up their blockade against a Palestinian refugee camp in the south-eastern suburbs of Beirut, despite fierce efforts by the Palestinians and their Moslem allies to break through.
The left-wing forces said their operation had the limited aim of securing supply routes for the refugee camp at Tel Al-Zaatar, a shanty town inhabited by Palestinians and poor Lebanese which was taking a heavy bombardment from Falangist strongholds in the surrounding hills. The Falangists had formed a cordon around the camp, and strategically were in a superior position.
The Falangists were using both small arms and machine guns to fire down into the camp. Because of their dominant position, the danger to the Falangists was minimal.
At the start of the battle, the right-wing gunmen had refused to let truck-loads of flour reach the Palestinian camp. They claimed that the trucks were carrying not only flour but also guns and ammunition. The Palestinians have made a counter claim that the Falangists are trying to help Israel by involving the Palestinians in the Lebanese civil war before the United Nations Security Council discussion on the Middle East in a few days time.
Infantry attacks seemed to involve relatively small numbers of militia, which may have accounted for the low number of casualties admitted by both sides. Security forces said that in the previous day's fighting 25 people had been killed.
A Falangist spokesman said that his militia had lost five killed and seven wounded during their successful drive to push back a Moslem force from the southern suburb of Shiyah which was trying to link up with the beleaguered Palestinians in Tel Al-Zaatar.
The Palestinians denied a Falangist claim that the right-wing gunmen had won back all the ground lost since the Palestinians went on the offensive early on Wednesday. They certainly still held territory they captured in the Jisr Al-Basha area.
SYNOPSIS: These Lebanese gunmen - most of them just teenagers - belong to the right-wing Christian Falangist Party, and they are going to join the attack on the Palestinian refugee camp of Tel AL-Zaatar in the eastern suburbs of Beirut. The Falangists had formed a cordon around the camp.
The battle had started in earnest on Wednesday when the right-wingers refused to let truck-loads of flour into the camp. It was then that the Palestinians and their Moslem allies went on the offensive. The Falangists claimed the trucks were carrying, not only flour, but also guns and ammunition.
By Friday, the Palestinians claimed they had won ground, but the siege was still unbroken. The Falangists were in a superior position on the low foothills around the camp, and they were in little danger.
The Palestinians claimed that the Falangists were trying to help Israel by Involving the Palestinians in the Lebanese civil war before the United Nations Security Council debate on the Middle East in a few days time.
From their various strongholds around the area, the Falangists wee able to keep up a fierce barrage of gunfire into the camp.