Hundreds of people fleeing the blitz of Beirut found their escape route cut when rockets smashed into Jounieh port as they waited to board a ferry to safety on a night of ferocious shelling that turned the sky red.

"It was a horrific scene. Women and children fell to the floor screaming. People stepped on each other as shells fell," said one woman.Witnesses said the Cyprus-bound ferry remained offshore as panic-stricken people raced to Lebanese Forces militia armored personnel carriers that took them from the port in Lebanon's Christian enclave.

An uneasy calm prevailed in Beirut Tuesday after a night of artillery, mortar bomb and rocket exchanges that lit up the night sky over the Lebanese capital.

At least eight people were killed and 24 wounded in Moslem west Beirut while Christian radio stations said two people were killed and 30 wounded in the eastern Christian sector.

About 70 wounded Moslems and their relatives began the journey from Beirut to the southern port of Sidon to be ferried to a French hospital ship that has already evacuated some Christian victims.

The hospital was hit Monday night in the continuing devastating shelling that has left scarcely a street in Beirut unscathed.