SIDON, Lebanon: The South Lebanon Security Council instructed relevant authorities Thursday to intensify security measures around public buildings, the Justice Palace, places of worship, schools and universities in Sidon.
The council convened an urgent session in Sidon’s government serail under the South Lebanon Governor Nicholas Abu Daher with the participation of the top regional security, military and judiciary officials in south Lebanon to discuss the security situation thoroughly.
The meeting’s participants stressed the need to boost measures to avoid gaps in security, which, if exploited by terrorists, could jeopardize the well-being of residents.
Following the meeting, the officials recommended that patrols in Sidon’s neighborhoods and its vicinity be maintained in coordination with Lebanese Army units, to identify potentially suspicious vehicles.
Participants instructed the security forces to carry out an accurate census for car garages specialized in fixing auto bodies and painting, especially those close to the highways and the side streets, to limit attempts by car thieves to hide stolen vehicles.
The Security Council called on residents to be cautious and not to be swayed by rumors that certain areas were more likely sites for car bomb attacks than others.
The council added that such rumors aim to keep the security situation tense, and unsettle the general atmosphere, the movement of residents, and the economy.
The security officials said that several fabricated news reports have been circulating that could trigger anxiety among residents, especially in certain areas where the political and sectarian balance is fragile.
The officials also called on regulating Internet cafes and closely monitor their customers. They instructed the security forces to compile a detailed listing of such venues and to ask owners for their licenses, issued by the Telecommunications Ministry.
Until the census is complete, surveillance cameras must be installed in front of these shops to monitor customers. Also, the owners should register the names and personal information of their customers.
The participants in the meeting praised the valuable efforts made by Palestinian factions and senior security officials to control the security situation in the refugee camps, with full coordination with the Lebanese security forces, especially the Army.
They also stressed the need to increase contacts among Palestinian officials to prevent attacks planned by the Israeli enemy to harm the Palestinian cause and their relations with their neighbors.
The participants touched on the situation of the Syrian refugees in the south, and expressed their approval of the measures being taken by the local administration to look after them, as well as local charities.
But they stressed the need to boost security around refugee complexes where Syrian refugees reside, especially larger ones like the Ouzai complex in Sidon’s southern suburbs.
The participants warned against security incidents that could affect the stability of the city and called for constant follow-up on the security measures around these refugee complexes and to tighten security measures around them and in the neighborhoods where the refugees reside.
The unexpected security meeting is the second to be held in less than two weeks. The council held its last regular meeting on Jan. 16.
Security sources had told The Daily Star “the meeting was fast-tracked due to an urgent and pressing security issue,” adding that “discussions about it can’t be delayed, especially amid rising security concerns with respect to terrorist attacks and the possibility that they would be carried out in regions of the country [other than Beirut’s southern suburbs].”