Lebanese army begins dismantling Hezbollah checkpoints
The army kicked off on Saturday preliminary measures to begin implementing in the northern and central Bekaa a security plan similar to the one executed in the northern city of Tripoli, reported the daily An Nahar on Sunday.
It said that the army's removal of Hezbollah checkpoints between the regions of Baalbek and al-Hermel and in Arsal is the first sign of the implementation of the plan.
The plan will be similar to that of Tripoli, but it will witness additional checkpoints and strict measures at border-crossings with Syria in order to combat the infiltration of terrorist groups and smuggling of booby-trapped vehicles into Lebanon, continued An Nahar.
Concerned sides predicted to the daily that the security plan will likely meet the same success as that of Tripoli given the people's positive response to the security measures and their exasperation with the poor security situation in Arsal, nearby areas, Baalbek, and al-Hermel.
Interior Minister Nouhad al-Mashnouq had discussed the security plan on Saturday with Maronite Patriarch Beshara al-Rahi, saying that it will eventually be implemented in Beirut.
The Tripoli plan got underway on Tuesday with the army and security forces cracking down on gunmen, confiscating weapons and arresting suspects.
The northern city had frequently witnessed clashes between the impoverished rival neighborhoods of Bab al-Tabbaneh and Jabal Mohsen.
The deep divisions between the two sides have grown since the eruption of the Syrian crisis in March 2011.
The Bab al-Tabbaneh neighborhood backs the Syrian uprising, while the Jabal Mohsen area supports the country's ruling regime.
The impact of the Syrian crisis has also been felt in the Bekaa, with the army arresting a number of gunmen attempting to enter Lebanon illegally from the neighboring country and seizing booby-trapped vehicles that were to be used in terrorist attacks in Lebanon.