BEIRUT: Following the implementation of a security plan in Beirut’s southern suburbs, caretaker Prime Minister Najib Mikati will chair a meeting of top security officials Friday to address the security situation in the northern city of Tripoli, according to caretaker Interior Minister Marwan Charbel.
Charbel spoke to reporters Wednesday after meeting Speaker Nabih Berri at the latter’s residence in Ain al-Tineh to brief him on the security situation in the southern suburbs, two days after hundreds of Army troops and personnel from the Internal Security Forces and General Security were deployed in the area to protect residents following a string of bomb attacks.
The deployment was in line with the Interior Ministry’s security plan, which aims to replace Hezbollah’s own security measures enforced following two car bombings in the densely populated area that left 30 people dead and over 300 wounded in July and August.
“We are all satisfied with this situation, so are all the parties and residents in the southern suburbs,” Charbel said.
He added that Berri asked him that the example of the security plan in the southern suburbs, a Hezbollah stronghold, be expanded to Tripoli and other areas facing security problems.
“I told him [Berri] that a meeting between us and Prime Minister Mikati will be held at 10 a.m. Friday to see how we can deal with the Tripoli issue,” Charbel said. He emphatically denied that there was a joint operations room between security agencies and Hezbollah in the southern suburbs to follow up on the security plan. In remarks published Wednesday, Charbel said Friday’s meeting at the Grand Serail in Beirut would be attended by top security officials, as well as ministers and lawmakers who represent the northern city. Tripoli has been shaken recently by on-and-off fighting between supporters and opponents of Syrian President Bashar Assad that left scores of people dead, and raised fears of the conflict in Syria spilling over into Lebanon.
Although Tripoli has been generally calm since the twin car bombings in the city that killed 47 people and wounded over 500 on Aug. 23, the military deployment in Beirut’s southern suburbs has sparked calls from caretaker Sports and Youth Minister Faisal Karami and others for the implementation of a security plan in Tripoli similar to that in the suburbs.Separately, Charbel and the French ambassador to Lebanon, Patrice Paoli, toured the Civil Aviation Security Training Center at Beirut’s Rafik Hariri International Airport after it was classified as an excellent training center in the Middle East by the International Organization of Civil Aviation. The center was built and equipped with a 1.5 million euro gift from France.