Just weeks after the attacks on Lebanon’s capital city of Beirut, Hezbollah seems to be taking extra measures to protect the people by turning the entire city into a fortress of sorts. The Shiite militant group has implemented strong security measures to prevent further attacks on the city and its residents by setting up checkpoints near the entrances of the southern suburbs and checking all the vehicles that enter the area (including patting doors and inspecting trunks).
The recent attacks on Beirut and the neighboring areas are considered to be a form of retaliation for Hezbollah’s role in the Syrian war. Hezbollah had deployed several fighters to assist the regime during the military intervention in many regions in Syria, including the Homas, Damascus, Aleppo and Derra provinces. The bombing of two Sunni mosques in the Tripoli district by twin car bombs has also initiated the residents of the city to set up a local vigilante group for security purposes.
A deadly car explosion on August 15 in Rweiss (southern Beirut) killed almost 30 people. This was preceded by a comparatively smaller car bomb explosion in the neighboring town of Bir al-Abed in July which left nearly 50 people fatally wounded. This was again preceded by yet another rocket barrage in May which hit the Shiyah district and wounded at least four people.
Following the attacks on Beirut were smaller roadside bombings carried out in the BekkaValley against suspected Hezbollah vehicles. These were later followed by cross-border rocket attacks against several Shiite villages and towns located in NortherBekaa, with the most recent rocket strike aimed at the Hermel area in the valley.
The increasing intensity of these attacks have created an unrest in the minds of the local residents who fear that Lebanon is fast heading towards becoming another Iran where sectarian conflicts and car bombs are the norm of the day. And the recent discovery of caches containing weapons and explosives along with several militant Sunni cells in the area has catapulted the fear of more attacks on the region in the recent future
Hezbollah’s initiative to offer security to the residents of the region has not gone down well with all. Although the Shiite militant group has tried its best to tighten security without disrupting the lives of the residents too much, the strain of the new measures are taking its toll on the people.
Local businesses have started to suffer as many families relocate to other areas in Lebanon outside the conflict zone. The influx of traders and businessmen in the region has also reduced considerably, with many of them totally avoided the area.