Army Arrests 14 as Tripoli Security Plan Gets Underway

The army deployed heavily on Tuesday in the northern city of Tripoli as it started implementing a security plan established by the government to end violence in the area, as President Michel Suleiman urged officials to deal firmly with all who violate the peace.

Army units began deploying heavily since 6:00 a.m. in al-Qobbeh area and Jabal Mohsen.

The army began removing the barricades and sandbags from the area and carried out raids to detain suspects.

Checkpoints were also erected, intensified patrols were carried out and checked the identification papers of passers-by.

It carried out raids in the areas of the Hariri project, al-Baqqar, al-Naamani, Hayy al-Tanak, al-Amercan, Bab al-Hadid, internal markets, al-Qobbeh, and Bab al-Ramel, the Army Command said in a statement.

Fourteen suspects were arrested and a number of weapons and military equipment were confiscated.

The National News Agency said that 21 suspects were arrested.

Security forces, according to NNA, detained 10 suspects in the areas of Jabal Mohsen, al-Qobbeh and al-Bqar, including five from al-Mawlawi family from the Bab al-Tabbaneh neighborhood.

According to LBCI, the army will enforce the plan in Bab al-Tabbaneh on Wednesday.

Last week, the cabinet tasked the army and security forces with seizing stockpiled arms and controlling the security situation in Tripoli and the eastern Bekaa Valley in areas bordering Syria.

The plan took into consideration the recommendations of the Higher Defense Council.

Suleiman later held talks with Interior Minister Nouhad al-Mashnouq and Army chief General Jean Qahwaji on the Tripoli plan.

He expressed his “satisfaction with the plan and the sacrifices made to ensure stability and the nation and people's security.”

Commenting on the plan later on Tuesday, Prime Minister Tammam Salam said that it is not “directed by one side against another, but it targets security to put the people at ease.”

“Anyone who violates security will be held accountable,” he stressed.

Tripoli witnesses frequent gunbattles between two of the impoverished neighborhoods of Bab al-Tabbaneh, which is dominated by Sunnis who support Syrian rebels, and Jabal Mohsen, which is dominated by Alawites, who share the same sect as Syrian President Bashar Assad.

Clashes in Tripoli have left scores of casualties during the last round.

More than 1,400 Internal Security Forces members are cooperating with the army to implement the security plan to restore calm in Tripoli.

The army also raided and searched the house of Arab Democratic Party politburo chief Rifaat Eid in Jabal Mohsen.

Two helicopters overflew the area simultaneously for surveillance as communication in the area was cut off.

Cameras and two handheld transceivers were reportedly seized at Eid's house.

A source denied in comments published in As Safir newspaper that wanted suspects in the rival neighborhoods left the city.

Media reports said on Saturday that head of the Arab Democratic Party Ali Eid left Lebanon to Syria, accompanied by his son, Rifaat.

State Commissioner to the Military Court Judge Saqr Saqr convicted 21 people in the case of the double blast that targeted two mosques in Tripoli last summer.

Among the convicted were Ali Eid and the head of the pro-Syria Islamic Tawhid Movement-Command Council, Sheikh Hashem Minkara.



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