The Army Command on Tuesday announced that army units arrested around 100 gunmen, including 34 Syrians and four Palestinians, in a security sweep in Beirut and Tripoli, as calm returned to the areas that witnessed deadly clashes over the past three days.
“Army units deployed in the areas that witnessed unrest over the past few days continued implementing the security plan laid out by the Command to suppress the presence of gunmen on the streets and confront any shooting, rioting or attacks against citizens' properties,” the Army Command said in a statement.
“These units continue to raid the hideouts of the gunmen in Beirut and Tripoli in order to restore full calm in the two cities,” it added, revealing that “around 100 gunmen were arrested, including 34 Syrians and four Palestinians.”
“A quantity of weapons, ammunition and military gear was seized, while 15 army troops were wounded by the armed men's gunfire, including two officers,” the statement added.
The Army Command stressed on Monday that Lebanon's security is a “red line” and that it will take strict measures against all those who are targeting security, as Army Commander General Jean Qahwaji inspected the army units deployed in Beirut.
It said in a statement: “We will not allow Lebanon to once again be turned into an open ground for regional conflicts.”
It lamented the assassination of Internal Security Forces Intelligence Bureau chief Maj. Gen. Wissam al-Hasan, adding that it “will not allow his death to be turned into an attempt to assassinate the country.”
It revealed that it had conducted contacts with all sides concerned in order to tackle the security situation.
“The army is dealing with the situation wisely and not in a reconciliatory manner because it realizes the sensitivity of the situation and political tensions,” it explained.
Furthermore, it urged all political leaderships to measure their statements with caution “because the country is on edge.”
In another statement, the Army Command said General Qahwaji "inspected the security measures taken and gave instructions on the need to foil strife and be firm with any security violators, to whichever side they may belong."
Qahwaji "lauded the troops' intensive efforts to restore security and stability, calling on them to exert utmost efforts to preserve citizens' souls and properties and ensure their freedom of movement."
The army carried out raids in Beirut's Tariq al-Jedideh neighborhood on Monday to restore order and detain gunmen after heavy gunfire was reported in the area.
According to the National News Agency, the army carried out patrols and raids in various areas in Tariq al-Jedideh and nearby areas, including Qasqas, Barbir, Corniche al-Mazraa and Cola.
Voice of Lebanon radio (93.3) reported that the army exchanged fire with gunmen in the area.
Later on Monday, the Army Command's Orientation Directorate issued a statement saying a Palestinian gunman was killed in an exchange of gunfire with army troops.
"At noon, Palestinian nationals Ahmed and Abed Qwaider opened fire from light assault rifles at an army patrol in the Qasqas area, prompting the patrol's members to shoot back, which left Ahmed dead after he succumbed to his wounds," the statement said.
In the afternoon, troop carriers entered Tariq al-Jedideh and soldiers took up position on streets leading into it to keep them open, a military spokesman said.
Heavy gunfire broke out at night in the area, just hours after al-Hasan's funeral.
Security sources told MTV channel that six people were wounded in the clashes. The wounded included four Lebanese, a Syrian and a Palestinian.
Al-Jadeed television said the gunfire was a battle involving groups claiming allegiance with opposition leader former Premier Saad Hariri and rival groups.
In Tripoli, the army deployed on Tuesday in Syria Street, the frontier between the rival districts of Jabal Mohsen and Bab al-Tabbaneh, as a ceasefire was declared following three days of clashes in the area that left at least seven people dead and scores others wounded.
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