Charbel from Tripoli: Security Plan Aimed at Protecting City from Local, External Threats

Caretaker Interior Minister Marwan Charbel urged on Wednesday all powers to cooperate in implementing a security plan in the northern city of Tripoli, similar to other plans in other areas in Lebanon that are aimed at ending the phenomenon of autonomous security.

He said after a Central Security Council meeting: “The Tripoli security plan is aimed at protecting it from local and external threats.”

He criticized the presence of rival gunmen in the city, who are mainly situated in the Bab al-Tabbaneh and Jabal Mohsen neighborhoods.

He wondered how the residents of Tripoli expect the security forces to protect them while gunmen frequently get embroiled in armed clashes.

“The gunmen cannot fight each other and later demand that security forces protect the city from bomb threats,” remarked the minister.

He therefore stressed the need for reconciliation among the residents, which will be preceded by a development plan in the city.

Charbel noted however that reconciliation and development cannot be achieved in Tripoli without security.

“We hope all sides will cooperate in order to end our current crisis,” he added.

He explained that the Tripoli security plan calls for the army to intervene between the rival gunmen and the security forces to protect the city from bomb attacks.

On August 23, 45 people were killed and over 800 wounded in a twin explosions in Tripoli.

The blasts targeted the Taqwa and al-Salam mosques as worshipers were performing weekly prayers.

Earlier on Wednesday, Charbel told An Nahar daily that he received word on Tuesday that Hizbullah decided to remove its security checkpoints in the southern town of Nabatiyeh, paving the way for the army to take over security in the area.

He told the daily: “Hizbullah no longer has any checkpoints in Lebanon.”

Moreover, he denied allegations that Hizbullah had set up checkpoints around the Palestinian refugee camp of Bourj al-Barajneh located in its stronghold of Dahieh in Beirut's southern suburbs.

“Only the official security forces have set up checkpoints around the camp,” he told the daily.

Meanwhile, sources told An Nahar that a Hizbullah delegation that had recently met with Army Commander General Jean Qahwaji had stressed to him the party's “greatest level of cooperation in implementing the security plan in Dahieh and other regions, including the Bekaa area of Baalbek.”

On September 23, around 1,000 army troops and security forces deployed in Dahieh where Hizbullah normally keeps a tight grip on security.

The security points were established after car bombings in the area killed 27 people on August 15 and wounded more than 50 on July 9.

Following the bombings, Hizbullah turned the southern suburbs into a fortress with guards in civilian clothes policing the streets, stopping and searching cars, and asking motorists for their identity cards.

Copyright © 2012 All Rights Reserved.