Army Carrying Out Security Plan in Beirut to Detain Gunmen, Restore Order

The army carried out raids in Beirut's Tariq al-Jadeedah neighborhood on Monday to restore order and detain gunmen on the streets while heavy gunfire was reported in the area.

According to the National News Agency, the army was carrying out patrols and raids in various areas in Tariq al-Jadeedah 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 succumed to his wounds," the statement said.

"The Army Command reiterates what it had mentioned in its previous statement that its military units will deal firmly and forcefully with anyone who tampers with the security of citizens or attacks army troops, whatever their affiliation might be," it added.

In the afternoon, troop carriers entered Tariq al-Jadeedah 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 clashes that followed the funeral of Internal Security Forces Intelligence Bureau head Brigadier General Wissam al-Hasan.

For more than an hour, the sound of automatic weapons could be heard coming from Tariq al-Jadeedah.

Carrying Kalashnikov assault rifles, gunmen cut off roads near Tariq al-Jadeedah. They used rubbish, rocks and scrap metal.

Security sources told MTV channel that six people were wounded in the clashes.

The wounded included four Lebanese, a Syrian and a Palestinian.

Soldiers prevented reporters and photographers from approaching the area and neither the army nor security services have so far made any comment.

Al-Jadeed television carried appeals from local residents for the injured to be evacuated. Heavy gunfire could be heard in the background.

The station said the gunfire was a battle involving groups claiming allegiance with opposition leader former Premier Saad Hariri and rival groups.

The clashes come after Sunday's funeral of Hasan, which itself was followed by skirmishes between mourners and the security forces in Beirut.

In other violence Sunday, a nine-year-old girl died during clashes between supporters and opponents of the Syrian regime in the northern city of Tripoli, Prime Minister Najib Miqti's hometown. Another eight people were wounded, security and medical officials said.

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