Lebanon: Armed Clashes Erupt between the Army and Drug Dealers in Baalbek

Members of the Lebanese army (AFP)
Members of the Lebanese army (AFP)
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Lebanon: Armed Clashes Erupt between the Army and Drug Dealers in Baalbek

Members of the Lebanese army (AFP)
Members of the Lebanese army (AFP)

A Lebanese soldier was killed and five others were injured on Friday in armed clashes with drug dealers in the Hay El-Sharawneh neighborhood in Lebanon's eastern town of Baalbek.

The military conducted a raid that went on for hours in the area to chase drug cells and was able to grasp control of the northern part of the neighborhood mostly dominated by wanted fugitive of Al-Zoaiter.

An exchange of fire between the dealers and army members left one soldier killed and five others injured. Several insurgents were arrested, an army statement said.

A security source told Asharq AL-Awsat on condition of anonymity, that the army had planned to make that raid early before but postponed it until after the parliamentary elections.

He said that kidnappings, assaults, thefts, and drug dealings were flourishing among the youth mainly in Beirut’s southern suburbs of Dahieh through suspects linked to major insurgents in Hay El-Sharawneh.

Heavy artillery, drones, and an army helicopter were used during the operation. The army cordoned off the neighborhood and made house-to-house searches for drug dealers.

According to information obtained by Asharq Al-Awsat, the army cordoned off the house of drug kingpin Ali Zoaiter and his two associates of Lebanese and Syrian nationalities.

Hours after the raid, a drug dealer nicknamed “Abu Salleh” managed to flee in spite of sustaining bullet injuries to his leg and abdomen.

The military arrested three wanted persons, one of whom is a major associate of "Abu Salleh". Another suspect was killed and three others were injured, sources told Asharq Al-Awsat.



Egypt Needs to Import $1.18 Billion in Fuel to End Power Cuts, PM Says

The moon is seen after the day of Strawberry Moon over old houses in Cairo, Egypt, June 22, 2024. (Reuters)
The moon is seen after the day of Strawberry Moon over old houses in Cairo, Egypt, June 22, 2024. (Reuters)
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Egypt Needs to Import $1.18 Billion in Fuel to End Power Cuts, PM Says

The moon is seen after the day of Strawberry Moon over old houses in Cairo, Egypt, June 22, 2024. (Reuters)
The moon is seen after the day of Strawberry Moon over old houses in Cairo, Egypt, June 22, 2024. (Reuters)

Egypt needs to import around $1.18 billion worth of mazut fuel oil and natural gas to end persistent power cuts exacerbated by consecutive heat waves, its Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly said in a televised address on Tuesday.

It hopes the shipments will arrive in full around the third week of July, by which point the government aims to stop cutting power during the remaining summer months, he added.

It has already started contracting for 300,000 tons of mazut worth $180 million to boost its strategic reserves which are expected to arrive early next week.

Egypt's government on Monday extended daily power cuts to three hours from two hours previously in response to a surge in domestic electricity consumption during the latest heat wave.

These three-hour cuts will continue until the end of June, before returning to two hours in the first half of July with the aim of stopping completely for the rest of the summer, Madbouly said on Tuesday.

Egyptian social media has lit up with complaints about the impact of the blackouts, with some saying they have been forced to purchase private power generators.

The problem has particularly affected teenagers preparing for the crucial high school certificate, with some posting about students studying by candlelight and others in coffee shops.

A wedding hall owner in the coastal city of Port Said said he would turn one of his ballrooms into a study hall.

Since July last year, load shedding linked to falling gas production, rising demand and a shortage of foreign currency has led to scheduled two-hour daily power cuts in most areas.

"We had said that we planned to end load shedding by the end of 2024... we do not have a power generation problem or a network problem, we are unable to provide fuel," Madbouly said on Tuesday.

"With the increase in consumption related to the major development and population increase, there has been a lot of pressure on our dollar resources," he added.

He said production in a neighboring country's gas field had come to a full halt for 12 hours leading to an interruption in the supply, without naming the country or the gas field.

Egypt's Abu Qir Fertilizers said on Tuesday three of its plants had halted production because their supply of natural gas was cut.