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Army deploys in Baalbek during security raids
Lebanese soldiers man at a checkpoint in the eastern city of Baalbek.
Lebanese soldiers man at a checkpoint in the eastern city of Baalbek.
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BAALBEK, Lebanon: The Lebanese Army erected checkpoints and deployed troops early Wednesday in the Hay al-Sharawneh neighborhood of Baalbek, and conducted a series of raids as part of security measures in the region.

Army checkpoints, enhanced with ISF personnel and military vehicles, were erected inside residential neighborhoods near Qobbet al-Saideen, the eastern entrance of Sharawneh neighborhood and the Sindibad restaurant.

The deployment began at dawn as soldiers took up positions at intersections and roads leading to towns. It followed raids in the towns of Yammouneh, Bawadi and Dar al-Wasaa in Baalbek, and also in Bekaa’s Brital and Hourtaala.

While some residents voiced relief about the Army’s crackdown, others feared the operation might only serve as propaganda, and lead to no real changes occurring in the region.

The raids in the region come after House Speaker Nabih Berri stressed Monday the importance of the security plan in order to end the security chaos in the Bekaa Valley.

Berri held talks Monday with a delegation of Bekaa Valley clan leaders to secure public support for the raids.

Following the meeting, the speaker announced that the Army would be deployed to the Bekaa Valley to improve security in a region known for its lawlessness, with over 30,000 active arrest warrants according to Berri.

On the first day of the crackdown in the region, operations were confined to the town of Brital, home to some of the country’s most-wanted criminals. They resulted in the arrest of three people and the confiscation of stolen goods.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on October 18, 2012, on page 3.
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