Lebanon News

Police search Tariq al-Jadideh for car bomb

ISF' Information Branch members on armored vehicle block a road in the Beirut neighborhood of al-Tariq al-Jadideh, Friday, July 4, 2014. (The Daily Star/Hasan Shaaban)

BEIRUT: Police intelligence personnel deployed heavily Friday in the Beirut neighborhood of Al-Tariq al-Jadideh and blocked a number of roads in search for a suspected explosives-rigged vehicle, security sources said.

However, no explosives or an explosives-rigged vehicle was found during the search, the sources said.

Friday’s was the second raid in Al-Tariq al-Jadideh this week as part of the security forces’ hunt for suspected terrorists and explosives.

Officers from the Internal Security Forces’ Information Branch, backed by police dogs, were seen searching buildings, as other security forces blocked Abu Shaker Street in Al-Tariq al-Jadideh, preventing passersby and vehicles from approaching or entering the area.

The Army Wednesday raided several buildings in Al-Tariq al-Jadideh and arrested two wanted suspects, part of a preemptive operation against terror cells.

Army commander Gen. Jean Kahwagi said the raids were part of a security plan to crack down on terror cells, reassuring the Lebanese that the security situation was “under control.”

Security agencies have been placed on high alert after three suicide bombings jolted Lebanon last month, fueling fears of a return to the wave of car blasts that targeted mainly Beirut’s southern suburbs and the Bekaa region, where Hezbollah enjoys strong support.

The deadly attacks, that began in July last year and lasted for several months, were linked to the war in Syria and were claimed by Al-Qaeda-affiliated groups in response to Hezbollah’s military intervention in Syria on the side of President Bashar Assad’s forces.

Forces have busted terrorist cells in the past few days and arrested some of its members on suspicions of plotting terror acts.

In line with its sustained campaign against terror groups, the Army last week discovered a cave in north Lebanon used by militants to make explosives.

Growing security fears fueled by last month’s three suicide bombings on the Beirut-Damascus highway in east Lebanon, Tayyouneh, one of the main entrances to the southern suburbs, and the Duroy Hotel in Raouche have prompted Shiite groups and institutions to cancel iftars during the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan which began in the Muslim world last Sunday.

Meanwhile, a 12-year-old Syrian boy was killed in a Syrian air raid on the outskirts of the northeastern Bekaa town of Arsal, security sources said.

Syrian warplanes carried out at least three airstrikes on the outskirts of Arsal, killing the Syrian boy and wounding his father, brother and a third man, a security source told The Daily Star.

The Lebanese Army released a brief statement confirming that the Syrian airstrikes between 8:55 a.m. and 10:15 a.m.

The source said the jets fired at least three missiles at the road linking the towns of Zamarani and Ajram, with one of them hitting a pickup truck carrying Syrian workers.

The source identified the victim as Ayham Rakan Hammoud. His father, Rakan, 45, and brother Adham, 14, and another man identified as Ali Hammoud Bakr, 40, were wounded in the air raid.

The source said the family was on its way to harvest cherries when their vehicle received a direct hit.

The Syrian regime has carried out air raids around Arsal, home to tens of thousands of Syrian refugees, a number of times in the past, in what it says is an attempt to stop rebels using the porous border area from moving back and forth between the two countries.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on July 05, 2014, on page 2.




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