Presidential Palace, U.S. Envoy's Home Shelled in Beirut

From Times Wire Services

Syrian gunners blasted Lebanon's presidential palace, army headquarters and the U.S. ambassador's residence Wednesday, and gunmen stormed the central prison in Muslim West Beirut, freeing 189 convicts.

A special squad of Beirut police recaptured 95 of the escapees despite shellfire across the divided city, authorities said.

Police said 10 people were killed and 89 wounded in Wednesday's duels between Christian army units and their Syrian and Druze militia foes. That raised the overall toll to 337 people killed and 1,323 wounded since the latest round of fighting, believed to be the most destructive of Lebanon's 14-year-old civil war, erupted March 14.

One salvo crashed into the building housing the state-run Channel 7 television station in West Beirut during the 8:30 p.m. newscast. The announcer ducked, then ran, and the station went off the air.

The U.S. Embassy said Ambassador John McCarthy's two-story villa was hit, but there were no casualties. McCarthy and his family are abroad. It was the third time the house has been hit in the past two months. Earlier shelling destroyed the dining and living rooms and the garage.

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