BEIRUT, Lebanon (CNN) — In an incident described as the first of its kind, Hezbollah gunmen surrounded a Lebanese police patrol Friday and held them for “entering a Hezbollah security zone.”
Lebanese political and security sources told CNN that three Lebanese internal security policemen in a clearly marked vehicle were on a routine patrol in a southern suburb of Beirut when they were intercepted and encircled by gunmen from Hezbollah.
The Lebanese policemen were disarmed in the vicinity of Bir El Abed and taken to a Hezbollah interrogation center, where they were accused of “entering a Hezbollah security zone.”
After the intervention of high-level political contacts, the policemen were returned and handed back their weapons.
Political sources claim this is the first publicly known incident of its kind.
Hezbollah has 14 members in the Lebanese parliament, but also has strong connections to Syria and Iran.
Hezbollah fighters have operated in the past with almost total autonomy in southern Lebanon but not in Beirut and its suburbs.