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Bombing 'the Last Straw'

But for many in West Beirut, it was the bomb at Smugglers Inn that symbolized the grimness of the situation. Throughout the next day people gathered silently under a leaden sky on Makhoul Street, a narrow lane in the business district, to stare at the wreckage.

''For me, blowing up Smugglers is the last straw,'' said a young woman whose Maronite Catholic family has stuck it out in West Beirut through all the last 10 years of trouble, including the Israeli invasion and siege.

''Before, even when things were terrible, you thought they might get better,'' she said. ''Now there is just no hope. Smugglers Inn - I first went there when I was l4. I used to go there all the time.''