An 800-strong Lebanese security force is preparing to deploy in the Hezbollah-controlled southern suburbs of Beirut Monday after rivals blamed the Shiite party for taking security out of the state’s hands.
A security source told The Daily Star that hundreds of personnel drawn from the Lebanese Army, the Internal Security Forces and General Security began to gather in Ouzai, south of Beirut.
The source said the force is expected to spread out across the suburbs, better known as Dahiyeh, setting up 44 positions to replace recently erected Hezbollah checkpoints.
A string of attacks targeting Hezbollah-controlled areas caused the party to enact tight security measures that snarled traffic and rankled drivers who were sometimes delayed or held for questioning.
The force, headed by Col. Mohammad Abboud, is also tasked with the responsibility of protecting citizens and enforcing public laws.
The move was welcomed by Hezbollah and its ally the Amal Movement.
According to the plan laid out by caretaker Interior Minister Marwan Charbel, the ISF will set up the checkpoints to replace those run by Hezbollah.
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