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Rival Militias Trade Grenade Raids Across Beirut Green Line

May 03, 1985|Associated Press

BEIRUT — Snipers dueled from skyscrapers and rival militias traded hit-and-run grenade forays across Beirut's Green Line today. The shaky national unity Cabinet failed to convene to curb the escalating fighting.

Police said six people were killed in dusk-to-dawn hostilities across the line, which slices Beirut into Muslim and Christian sectors. The sporadic barrages of mortar and tank fire, backing grenade-throwing assaults, wounded 41 people, according to reports from police and a patient at a hospital that was shelled.

The new casualty figures raised the death toll to 14 killed and 81 injured since the latest Beirut fighting began last Sunday.

The Christian Voice of Lebanon radio said shells fired by Druze gunners landed near President Amin Gemayel's palace in suburban Baabda, and near the Defense Ministry, headquarters of the 37,000-man army.

The Barbir Hospital on the Muslim edge of the Green Line in West Beirut was hit by seven artillery shells from the Christian side before dawn, wounding one employee and causing damage to three floors of the seven-story hospital.

The Beirut fighting followed a Druze and Muslim offensive that evicted Christians from all coastal areas in south Lebanon, forcing thousands of refugees to flee to the mountain stronghold of Jezzine.

Israeli military sources said about 700 Christian refugees embarked on Lebanese ships today from the port of Haifa to be taken to East Beirut and other Christian-held areas of Lebanon.

The sources said the refugees were taken to the Israeli port by bus from south Lebanon.

Refugees began arriving in Israeli-occupied south Lebanon last weekend, mainly from Christian villages around the port of Sidon.

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