Hezbollah denies role in attack on UNIFIL troops

Group responds to French FM Juppe's claim that Syria urged roadside bomb which injured 5 French peacekeepers.

By REUTERS
December 12, 2011 18:18
2 minute read.
UN peacekeepers after bomb attack [illustrative]

UNIFIL 311 R. (photo credit: REUTERS/Ali Hashisho)

 
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BEIRUT - Lebanon's Hezbollah denied on Monday any role in an attack which wounded five French UN peacekeepers last week, a day after France's Foreign Minister Alain Juppe blamed Syria and Hezbollah for the bombing.

In a statement, Hezbollah urged Juppe to "correct his position and pay heed to the seriousness of such accusations which represent a great injustice, and which we completely reject."

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Hezbollah condemns attack on UNIFIL troops

Hezbollah denounced the bombing last Friday, saying: "This attack targeted security and stability in Lebanon in general, and particularly in southern Lebanon," according to Hezbollah affiliate Al Manar.

Juppe said on Sunday Paris believed Syria was behind attacks on its troops in Lebanon earlier this week.

"We have strong reason to believe these attacks came from there (Syria)," Juppe said on RFI radio. "We think it's most probable, but I don't have proof."

France - with Britain, Germany and the United States - has been pushing for the UN Security Council to take up the issue of Syria again. In October, Russia and China vetoed a resolution that would have condemned Damascus' crackdown on pro-democracy protesters and threatened possible sanctions.



Paris is now pushing for the creation of humanitarian corridors to provide aid to the population.

When asked if he believed Hezbollah had carried out the attack on behalf of Damascus, Juppe said: "Absolutely. It is Syria's armed wing (in Lebanon)."

The attack follows attacks 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 Israel's 34-day war with Hezbollah in 2006.

Juppe called on the Lebanese government to ensure the safety of peacekeeers in the country and said the review at the UN assess the consequences of the attacks and redefine the objectives of the UNIFIL mission.

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