Lebanese Security Forces apprehend trio behind spate of church vandalism and robberies

BEIRUT — In response to a surge in incidents targeting churches across Lebanon, the Lebanese Security Forces have successfully apprehended a three-member gang responsible for the vandalism and robbery of multiple religious institutions.

Global trends have witnessed an alarming increase in acts of extremism, violence, and theft directed at holy places and Christian monasteries. Lebanon, too, has not been immune to this unsettling trend. The Information Division of the Lebanese Internal Security Forces Directorate disclosed the recent arrest of a gang that orchestrated a series of thefts and acts of vandalism in nearly ten churches situated in the capital, Beirut, and Mount Lebanon, all within a span of two weeks.

A statement released by the Public Relations Division of the Security Forces Directorate detailed the concerted efforts undertaken to unveil those involved in the spate of church thefts. Following rigorous technical and field investigations, the security forces apprehended three individuals, including one Lebanese national and two Syrians.

The Directorate outlined the arrest locations, with one individual detained in Sin El Fi and the other two arrested in Ramlet El Bayda locality. Subsequent interrogations revealed that two of the detainees confessed to executing over ten thefts and four additional operations. The third individual admitted awareness of the thefts but claimed non-participation in their execution.

The affected churches included notable landmarks such as the Church of Saint Zakhia in Amchit, Church of Saint Abda in Jal el-Dib, Church of Sayedet al-Duwair in Al-Fidar, Church of Saint Joseph in Achrafieh al-Hikma, Church of Our Lady of Deliverance in Kornet Shehwan, and the Church of Saint Ephrem in Kfardebian.