It’s common as the last seconds of the year pass in Lebanon to hear streaks of celebratory gunshots fired into the air by some people, with no regard to the safety of their fellow citizens.
However, this dangerous habit does not only endanger people on the ground but also the passengers of commercial planes that might be passing overhead.
This threat that airliners face annually on New Year’s Eve prompted the director of Beirut Airport Security Service, Brig. Gen. George Doumit, to request that the Interior Ministry takes the necessary actions to suppress such behaviors.
In the December 1st request, Doumit said these actions “pose a real threat to the safety of civil aviation, airport facilities, aircraft, and passengers.”
In response, caretaker Interior Minister Mohamad Fahmi issued a circular on Thursday, addressing security forces, airport security, municipal authorities and unions, and governors across the country, especially in Beirut and Mount Lebanon, which are closest to the airport.
The circular called on the competent authorities to “take strict and deterrent measures to prevent anyone from shooting on the upcoming New Year occasion.”
This is in order to “preserve the principle of public safety and not endanger the lives of citizens in all Lebanese regions, and to preserve the safety of aircraft coming to and departing from Lebanon.”