|Photo by: REUTERS/Ali Hashisho|
Blast wounds French UNIFIL troops in Lebanon
By JPOST.COM STAFF AND REUTERS
At least seven wounded, including two passersby; attack follows May, July attacks on UNIFIL peacekeepers.
TYRE - A roadside bomb wounded five French peacekeepers in southern
Lebanon on Friday, in the third attack this year on United Nations
forces deployed near the frontier with Israel.
The blast hit a jeep carrying French UNIFIL troops on the outskirts of the Mediterranean port city of Tyre.
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can confirm that a UNIFIL vehicle was hit by an explosion in Tyre,"
UNIFIL spokesman Andrea Tenenti said. "Five peacekeepers were injured."
attack follows bombings in May and July against French and Italian
peacekeepers and comes as the United Nations prepares a review of its
12,000-strong operation, which was beefed up after the Second Lebanon War in 2006.
A Reuters reporter saw a jeep with its
windows blown out and several wounded peacekeepers at the scene minutes
after the explosion in the Burj al-Shamali district on the eastern edge
Most of the injuries were light but medical sources said one of the UNIFIL soldiers was badly wounded.
Security sources said two passersby were also hurt.
reduced its contribution to UNIFIL to 1,100 soldiers from 1,800 after
six of its peacekeepers were wounded in May, although diplomats said the
decision to cut its contingent had been taken before the attack.
Two months later six French soldiers were wounded in another attack.
International community: Attack is 'disgraceful'
said Friday's bombing would "not divert us from our task" and Lebanon's
Prime Minister Najib Mikati also said the peacekeepers would continue
"Lebanon considers these attacks as targeting its
own security and stability, not only UNIFIL," Mikati said. "These
attacks will not have an influence on UNIFIL's work in the south, nor on
the French contingent... Lebanon, as a state and people, are in
solidarity with the international forces and condemn attacks against
Lebanese President Michel Suleiman alleged that the attack
was designed to force UNIFIL's withdrawal from the country and to
obstruct its work in the South, according to the Lebanese Daily Star newspaper.
Minister Alain Juppe said Paris would "not be intimidated by such
disgraceful acts", urging Lebanon to bring the perpetrators to justice
and ensure the safety and freedom of movement of UN forces.
The UN Security Council called in August for a review
of UNIFIL operations in Lebanon by the end of the year, aimed partly at
assessing whether the Lebanese army could assume greater role in
operations. Diplomats say the results of the review are unlikely to be
issued for several months.
The border area has remained relatively quiet since 2006, although 10 Palestinian demonstrators were killed in May after troops fired upon protesters near the shared border at Marun Aras.
year a senior IDF officer, two Lebanese soldiers and a Lebanese
journalist were killed when Lebanese and Israeli troops clashed at the