As Lebanese security forces pushed ahead Thursday with the third day of a crackdown on suspected criminals in Beirut’s southern suburbs, Interior Minister Nouhad Machnouk clarified that Hezbollah’s arsenal would remain off-limits.

“There was an agreement between all political leaders at the dialogue sessions headed by former President Michel Sleiman in 2012,” Machnouk said. “The decision to consider Hezbollah’s arms a part of Lebanon’s defense strategy.”

His comments came during a news conference that focused on the recent riots at Roumieh Prison after a reporter asked him how the security plan would deal with Hezbollah’s weapons.

Security forces carried out a fresh set of raids and measures targeting fugitives in the southern suburbs Thursday targeting five neighborhoods. […]