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Beirut Reels Under Savage Shelling; 16 Killed, 53 Hurt

May 09, 1989|From Times Wire Services

BEIRUT — Remorseless artillery fire battered Beirut and about 80 outlying towns and villages Monday in some of the most savage shelling of Lebanon's 14-year-old civil war.

At least 2,000 shells, rockets or mortar rounds slammed into Muslim and Christian sectors of the divided capital, killing at least 16 people and wounding 53, security officials said.

The third day of intense shelling since a cease-fire collapsed brought casualties in the nearly two-month battle between Christian and Muslim gunners to at least 316 dead and 1,184 injured.

Hospitals, schools, factories and Lebanon's main power station were among the buildings hit in a relentless eight-hour barrage that did not let up for a single minute.

"Here we go again. I had hoped they would give us a longer break, but they destroy all hopes," said a man hurrying back to a shelter in the devastated capital's Christian sector.

Shopkeepers banged down their shutters when the shooting started and motorists sped away, blaring their horns at pedestrians scurrying for cover. Police said streets emptied in less than 15 minutes.

Many factories in the industrial area of Christian East Beirut were set ablaze, witnesses said.

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