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Over 25,000 security forces to be deployed on New Year's Eve.

Summary: Heightened security measures over the holiday period are set to reach their peak around New Year's Eve, with around 25,000 security personnel to be deployed around Lebanon, Interior Minister Nouhad Machnouk said in a televised interview Saturday.

BEIRUT: Heightened security measures over the holiday period are set to reach their peak around New Year's Eve, with around 25,000 security personnel to be deployed around Lebanon, Interior Minister Nouhad Machnouk said in a televised interview Saturday. Of the 25,000-strong force set to be stationed on the streets as well as around places of worship, nightclubs and bars, a minimum of 10,000 will be members of the Internal Security Forces, a security source told The Daily Star Tuesday.

"The [ISF] will be deployed in patrols, at checkpoints and in civilian clothes, and this is in addition to procedures taken to secure diplomatic areas. Just on the ground, it's around 10,000," the source said.

He added that partygoers on New Year's Eve can expect to see a heavy security presence, but Lebanon's residents should rest assured that there have been no specific threats and that the ISF is just taking precautionary steps.

Asked how this year's measures compared to the last, the source elaborated that the force will be deploying similar methods and numbers, but more effectively.

"The ISF is constantly developing its procedures, so it's the same type, but with a development in the [execution] ability," he said.

Defense Minister Yaacoub Sarraf praised the Army for its service during the holiday season, saying that festivities had so far passed without major incidents because of the dedication of military personnel.

Sarraf said the Lebanese Army would remain deployed across the country and added that the security situation in Lebanon was good.

"While we were celebrating the holiday inside our homes and with our families, our soldiers were on the border, maintaining the security of border towns and villages, erecting checkpoints in all areas and patrolling," the minister said, according to a statement from his office.

Government agencies have been working across the board to ensure security and safety over New Year.

On Dec. 14, the Interior Ministry called for expanded checkpoints to test for drunk driving and speeding. It also asked governors across Lebanon to inform municipalities to take swift action against any celebratory gunfire on New Year's Eve, a call seconded by the Army in a statement last week.

Celebrations are often marked by gunfire, as people let off rounds to ring-in the New Year.

The issuance of firearms permits has also been suspended from the end of December until after the New Year, though this does not apply to diplomatic staff, political or religious figures and their entourages.

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Publication:The Daily Star (Beirut, Lebanon)
Geographic Code:7LEBA
Date:Dec 27, 2017
Words:469
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