BEIRUT: More than 20 armed men assaulted five policemen Friday as they guarded illegally chopped trees in a forest in Jbeil, northeast of Beirut, a high-ranking security source told The Daily Star.
A number of people In the village of Elmat illegally chopped branches from several trees in the forest without a permit earlier Friday, but fled when members of the Internal Security Forces arrived at the scene.
Five policemen were left behind to guard the trees.
Around 25 armed men returned to the forest, attacked the policemen and stole their weapons, prompting Gen. Joseph Dwaihy of the ISF to deploy a 300-strong police force to the area, seeking to arrest the assailants.
The ISF obtained judicial warrants to detain the men, who the security source said he believed were members of Hezbollah.
Tree-cutting in forests is prohibited unless a permit is obtained from the relevant municipality.