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Heightened security in on-edge Tripoli

Exceptional security measures were adopted to stem any troubles that could take place on Friday

Lebanese army. (AFP/Joseph Eid)

Heightened security measures have been implemented in Tripoli amid rising tensions following judicial measures targeting Jabal Mohsen’s Arab Democratic Party over its links to the August Tripoli bombings.

 

Interior Minister Marwan Charbel held a meeting in the troubled port city on Thursday ahead of Friday’s communal Muslim jumua’ah prayers, saying afterward that security forces will deploy alongside the Lebanese Armed Forces to impose order.

 

“The broad lines of the security plans have been drawn,” Charbel announced.

 

According to reports, exceptional security measures were adopted to stem any incidents, with sources telling Al-Joumhouria that gatherings would only be permitted inside mosques and that “any gathering outside their premises would be considered illegal.”

 

The daily added that the security forces had been ordered to impose these plans without discriminating between Jabal Moshen and Bab al-Tebbaneh.

 

The measures come as First Military Investigative Judge Riad Abu Ghaida is reportedly set to summon ADP Secretary General Ali Eid to appear for questioning on Tuesday, days after the Alawite figure was formally indicted for helping suspects in the deadly August Tripoli bombings escape the country.

 

The ADP has rejected judicial moves against the party, with party chief Rifaat Eid warning that a “civil war could start from the city” and that previous Internal Security Forces summons against his father, Ali Eid, were akin to “crossing a red line.”

 

Al-Akhbar reported Friday that arrest warrants were also issued against Tripoli bomb suspects Ahmad Ali and Shehade Shnoud, thus “increasing the level of concern in Tripoli.”

 

“Most shops closed their doors in Souq al-Qameh, while Syria Street and adjacent road became empty,” the report added.

 

Also, a Jabal Mohsen resident – identified as Abdel Karim Issa Habib – was beaten by unknown assailants near Al-Nini Hospital, while two other Jabal Mohsen residents were attacked in the Al-Tal area.

 

Al-Akhbar added that the Lebanese Armed Forces reinforced its measures along the front lines between hostile neighborhoods, in order to prevent any troubles and possible demonstrations.

 

Amid the heightened tension, the ADP has cancelled a march planned from Jabal Moshen to the city’s central Abdul Hamid Karami Square after authorities denied a permit for the protest.

 

Meanwhile, former Internal Security Forces chief Ashraf Rifi - who has previously issued warnings over the worsening tension in Tripoli - told Al-Mustaqbal that two petitions were being prepared to request the referral of the case of the Tripoli and Dahiyeh bombings to the Judicial Council.

 

“One of the petitions will gather 100,000 signatures from Tripoli and North Lebanon residents.”

 

The troubled port city of Tripoli has been the scene of recurrent sectarian clashes linked to the war in Syria, as pro-Syrian regime Alawite fighters from the Jabal Mohsen quarter and pro-rebel Sunni militants from the neighboring Bab al-Tebbaneh area have fought on numerous occasions.

 

The latest clashes in late October, which claimed the lives of 14 people from both sides, took place despite the presence of security forces that have been deployed since two explosions rocked the city on August 23, leaving 45 dead.

 

Members of the Jabal Mohsen–based Arab Democratic Party have been accused of carrying out these bombings, which has exacerbated tension between the warring neighborhoods.

Lebanese army troops deployed in Tripoli. (AFP/Joseph Eid)

The broad lines of the security plans have been drawn.