Lebanon’s security forces carried out a series of raids in Beirut's southern suburbs of Dahieh, the strongholds of the Shiite Hezbollah party and Amal movement, following complaints by the local population over the security situation.
The security forces arrested dozens of individuals, who are wanted for theft, armed robbery and drug trafficking.
Pickpocketing and theft of motorcycles and mobile phones have increased dramatically in recent months, forcing the suburbs’ residents to restrict their movement especially during nighttime.
In remarks to Asharq Al-Awsat, a resident said she “hesitates to go out at night to the markets to buy Eid al-Fitr necessities, due to fears of being robbed.”
The people of the district resorted to a sort of self-security plan, with social media sites posting videos showing residents catching and beating a person who tried to steal a motorcycle, before handing him over to the state security forces.
In view of the wide popular discontent, a security campaign was launched last week, with the participation of the Lebanese Army, the Interior Security Forces (ISF), State Security and General Security.
The residents of the suburbs have expressed some relief at the recent deployment of security forces in the streets.
Member of Amal's Development and Liberation bloc, MP Fadi Alama said calls on the state to impose security measures in Dahieh "had never ceased." He noted that the measures loosened as Lebanon plunged deeper in crisis, leading to a rise in crime.
Representatives of Hezbollah, Amal, security agencies and the military held a recent meeting to activate the role of the agencies in Dahieh, deploying patrols around the clock and setting up checkpoints in various locations, said a joint statement by Hezbollah and Amal.
Lebanese sources told Asharq Al-Awsat that the security services were cracking down and arresting people based on data collected from street cameras, and other security information that proves their involvement armed robberies, shootings, drug trafficking and other illegal acts.