Lebanon launches security plan in Bekaa Valley
Lebanese forces originally launched a security plan last year close to the border with Syria in a bid to clamp down on militancy. (AFP/File)
Security forces raided towns in the eastern Bekaa Valley before dawn Thursday, sources said, sending fugitives fleeing.
Security sources told The Daily Star about 1,000 army soldiers, 500 police and 500 General Security officers were involved in a joint operation that saw raids against Hor Taala, Brital and surrounding villages to search for wanted drug suspects.
All the suspects fled, the sources said. Many of the suspects are also accused of involvement in theft and kidnappings.
The long-anticipated campaign is seen as an extension of a security plan launched last year in northern Lebanon to clamp down on crime and round up militants suspected of involvment in clashes and attacks.
Interior Minister Nouhad Machnouk announced on Tuesday that the plan for the Baalbek-Hermel area was "ready and would be implemented... by a joint force of 1,000 troops backed by 500 members of police and General Security.”
Machnouk pointed out that a security plan for Beirut and its southern suburbs, where Hezbollah enjoys wide support, will follow, stressing that “there will be no (safe) place for those who meddle with the country’s security and stability.”
The Future Movement minister said the situation in the Palestinian refugee camp of Ain al-Hilweh in Sidon will be the next main security issue on the security agenda.