Beirut resembled a ghost town Tuesday with only a few people venturing out after a night in which shellfire turned the sky a blazing red.

"The night of fire covered half of Lebanon," Beirut's leftist as-Safir newspaper said of the Christian-Moslem artillery duels."The sky poured rain and shells. Even thunder could not silence the thud of artillery explosions," added the independent an-Nahar.

An estimated 4,000 shells rained down on Christian east Beirut Monday. Some 1,000 shells hit Moslem west Beirut and the Druse-held Shouf mountains to the southeast.

But most Lebanese, battle-wise after 14 years of civil war, survived as buildings crumbled in fire around them.

As the bombardment eased at dawn Tuesday, initial hospital casualty reports showed only three people were killed and eight wounded.