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Hundreds of Turkish-made pistols seized in north Lebanon

Hundreds of Turkish-made pistols seized in north Lebanon
3 min read
23 May, 2024
Lebanese authorities have seized hundreds of Turkish-made pistols in recent days in the country's north, with a number of people arrested.
The Lebanese army has in the past year raided a number of gun shops that sell smuggled and unlicensed Turkish-made pistols [Getty/file photo]

Hundreds of Turkish-made pistols were seized in Lebanon this week, with reports saying the arms were suspected to be heading to a Palestinian refugee camp in the country’s south.

On Monday, authorities in the north Lebanese coastal city of Batroun discovered 304 guns hidden in a truck after the vehicle caught fire due to an electric short circuit.

The guns were discovered as Civil Defence teams were dispatched to extinguish the fire. A number of suspects were later detained by the Lebanese army.

The following day, military intelligence foiled an attempt to smuggle in 400 pistols through the Port of Tripoli in northern Lebanon, arresting the driver of the truck which was transporting the arms.

Citing a Lebanese army statement, The New Arab's Lebanon-focused sister site Almodon reported that both cargos are linked.

The truck which was seized at the port was part of a shipment of six trucks carrying Turkish-imported sunflower oil, Almodon reports. A secret cache was found placed underneath the driver’s seat where the pistols had been hidden.

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An investigation has been launched to find other suspects involved.

Sources told Almodon that Customs at the Tripoli port were not properly monitoring trucks and containers arriving at the harbour, amid accusations of corruption. Security has recently been increased at the port.

The truck loaded with guns at the Tripoli port was "most likely" heading to south Lebanon, sources told Almodon.

Image above shows the guns-loaded truck seized in Batroun, north Lebanon.

The Turkish-made guns were reportedly not ready for use, but rather were semi-calibre pistols which would be converted upon their arrival to Lebanon. They are said to be quite cheap, ranging from $100 to $280.

Another source familiar with cases of detainees arrested for carrying weapons told Almodon that the suspects are often young men who carry Turkish-made pistols, and some of them identified the names of prominent weapons dealers they buy the guns from during questioning.

So far, the report says, the identified dealers have been not arrested.

The Lebanese army, which plays a crucial role in maintaining internal security alongside the police, has raided a number of gun shops selling hunting rifles and ammunition in the past year, especially in the north.

Large quantities of smuggled and unlicensed Turkish-made pistols have previously been confiscated, and some of the stores shut down.

The major perpetrators are yet to be detained, according to reports, with some of the fugitives inside the country, while others have managed to flee Lebanon.