JIYYEH, Lebanon: Security at the Jiyyeh power plant in south Lebanon was bolstered Tuesday as part of efforts to protect a Turkish electricity barge that arrived a day earlier. Police units and General Security personnel kept watch as Turkish engineers and laborers worked with Lebanese to stabilize the barge and lock it into a stationary position.
Fears of a possible attack on Turkish nationals, in light of the recent kidnapping of two Turkish Airlines pilots as they departed Beirut’s international airport, prompted Lebanese authorities to increase security in several parts of the country, including Jiyyeh.
Karadeniz Holding, the company leasing two barges to Lebanon to cover 20 percent of the country’s electricity needs, is providing its employees with bodyguards for personal protection.
Security agencies are taking precautionary measures to protect Turks as well as other tourists in Lebanon.
A group calling itself Zuwwar al-Imam Ali al-Reda claimed responsibility for Friday’s abduction, saying it would release the two Turks in exchange for nine Lebanese pilgrims being held by Syrian rebels.
Families of the kidnapped Lebanese claim that Turkey, given its strong support for the Syrian opposition, has enough leverage to secure the release of their loved ones.
The relatives issued a warning Monday, saying any Turkish citizen seen in Beirut would be a target of abduction, in protest over the ongoing detention of a man suspected of involvement in Friday’s kidnapping.
At Jiyyeh, efforts are underway to connect Orhan Bey to the power plant.
The contract between Lebanon’s Energy Ministry and Karadeniz Holding will provide the country with 270MW of electricity via the two power barges, Orhan Bey and Fatmagul Sultan, for the next three years.
Orhan Bey was supposed to arrive to Lebanon two months ago but was delayed due to technical problems that required repairs that had to be conducted on the ship.
Fatmagul Sultan, which arrived in March, is set to provide 188MW while its sister ship is expected to begin production within weeks.