BEIRUT — A national security plan in Lebanon was announced Wednesday by caretaker Interior Minister Bassam Mawlawi ahead of Christmas and New Year's Eve holidays, as Lebanon continues to struggle with an unprecedented economic crisis.
The date of the beginning of the plan was not communicated by the minister, but Mawlawi said it will remain in effect until Jan. 1.
No 'politics' at the Interior Ministry
"The law enforcement agencies have put in place a plan to preserve security during the holiday season and these forces are fully prepared," Mawlawi announced at a press conference after a Central Security Council meeting.
"We will not allow politics to interfere with the Ministry of Interior or security forces. Whatever the differences in politics, it is forbidden to temper with security," the caretaker minister warned.
Mawlawi explained that security measures will be strengthened around churches and places of worship.
"We have 391 churches in front of which 522 officers and 7,690 agents will be deployed," said the caretaker minister. "Four-hundred and forty patrols of the ISF, the Beirut police, gendarmerie units, mobile units and the judicial police will cover the whole territory. The plan will be maintained until the New Year."
He added that this plan will be carried out in cooperation with General Security and State Security.
"We have asked that measures be taken against gunshots and to ensure the enforcement of the ban on carrying weapons during the holidays ... We insist greatly on the perimeter of the [Beirut] airport so that there are no shots in the air that threaten the safety of people and air traffic," Mawlawi added.
Several incidents involving stray bullets falling on Beirut airport have been recorded recently, including last year's New Year's Eve. In November, a Middle East Airlines aircraft was hit by a bullet.
The security situation in Lebanon has recently deteriorated as the country suffers from an unprecedented financial collapse that has plunged more than three-quarters of the population into poverty.
Last September, caretaker Minister of the Interior announced that a "sustainable" security plan had been drawn up for northern Lebanon, after two deadly shootings in Tripoli, the country's poorest city, raised fears of an upsurge in violence.
On Monday, the ISF began implementing a security plan in Tripoli after it experienced a series of incidents. On the same day, a man was shot dead in the city.
Bloody incidents involving firearms are common in Lebanon, where there is little regulation of weapons.
On Wednesday, at the Abdeh-Halba highway in Akkar, unidentified persons beat and robbed a man who was carrying approximately $100,000, a security source told L'Orient Today's correspondent in the area.
The suspects fled to an unknown destination and the security services opened an investigation into the incident. The victim was transferred to the government hospital in Tripoli for treatment.
Joseph Aoun at the Grand Serail
The commander-in-chief of the Lebanese Army, General Joseph Aoun, was received Wednesday by caretaker Prime Minister Najib Mikati, with whom he discussed "the security situation in the country," according to the Council of Ministers' office.
"The security situation is under control. There is no fear of isolated incidents that could lead to a deterioration," General Aoun reportedly told Mikati.
"The army will intensify its measures during the holiday season as part of the comprehensive security plan," the army chief added.
Additional reporting by Michel Hallak.
BEIRUT — A national security plan in Lebanon was announced Wednesday by caretaker Interior Minister Bassam Mawlawi ahead of Christmas and New Year's Eve holidays, as Lebanon continues to struggle with an unprecedented economic crisis.The date of the beginning of the plan was not communicated by the minister, but Mawlawi said it will remain in effect until Jan. 1.No 'politics' at the...