First 400 US marines of a 2,200-man task force lands in W. Beirut to secure the evacuation of American citizens against terrorist attack
The task force of five American warships has been diverted to Beirut from the Red Sea and Gulf of Aqaba.
Israel has granted safe passage for the evacuation of foreign nationals from Lebanon.
debkafile reports: Israeli military leaders fear this will leave Hizballah free to exploit the evacuations, including many women and children, as a human shield for posting its long-range missiles and firing them against Israel. Beirut harbor, the main departure point, would be the best vantage point for Hizballah to aim its long-range missiles against Israel’s heavily populated coastal cities. The US and British embassies in Beirut which are coordinating the large-scale evacuations also fear Hizballah may attack the evacuees in the convoys at the most vulnerable points, on their way to the rescue crafts or during embarkation – and then accuse Israel. Washington, London, Paris and Berlin requested and received Israeli guarantees for its air force and navy to hold their fire until the operation which could go on for days is over.