Scanners installed at Beirut airport to detect drugs and explosives

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Najib Mikati, Lebanon’s caretaker prime minister, carried out an inspection of new scanners at Rafic Hariri International Airport in Beirut on Friday.

The scanners, donated by Germany, have been installed in the cargo shipment, goods export and DHL freight buildings in order to detect drugs and explosives.

The aim is for “Beirut airport to reflect Lebanon’s bright side,” Mikati said.

“Lebanon cannot be a source or passage for any act harming the country or its Arab brothers and other countries,” he added. “We aim to make export safe and secure, and this is our promise to Arab and Western states: We declare that Beirut airport is safe.

“Thanks to the new devices, the screening rate has increased from 500 to 1,200 bags per hour, which is a good rate,” Mikati continued.

“We have notified the head of the airport security service that 800 cameras have been installed in and around the operations room to detect any suspicious activity at the airport. We are concerned with controlling security and are doing everything in our power.”

Mikati noted that Lebanese General Security “has taken measures to facilitate fliers’ passage through the airport. In the past two days, 28,000 passengers have (passed through).”

The new measures to combat drug smuggling coincided with the General Directorate of Internal Security Forces announcing that it had “busted the most dangerous drug-trafficking network within the Mount Lebanon governorate, arrested nine people, and seized 46 kg of drugs, including 13,000 envelopes containing 34 kg of cocaine.”

The directorate said in a statement that authorities monitoring a drug den in Beirut’s southern suburbs had noticed a schoolchild buying drugs for personal use.

“The incident shocked the authorities,” the statement said. “They gathered information about an armed network distributing drugs within the Mount Lebanon governorate and targeting a large segment of Lebanese youth, especially school and university students. The network’s dens were closely monitored, (which confirmed) that the network was distributing drugs … in huge quantities, posing a serious threat to social security.”

Those arrested during the two-day operation in Choueifat, Aramoun, Kfarshima and Dahr Al-Baidar included five Lebanese, one of whom was wanted for impersonating a security guard, as well as four Syrians aged between 24 and 49.

Large sums of money in both Lebanese pounds and dollars were discovered, along with jewelry, 15 mobile phones, military-grade weapons, and a hand grenade.

The detainees admitted to building an armed network for drug trafficking within the Mount Lebanon governorate. One of them transported the drugs from Baalbek to Choueifat and Aramoun, two were in charge of storing them, and the rest were responsible for distribution.

The directorate uploaded a video of the raids and the items seized.

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