indonesian troops 298.88.
(photo credit: AP [file])
More than 700 Indonesian soldiers leave for Lebanon in coming days to join a UN peacekeeping force monitoring a cease-fire between Israel and Hizbullah.
Around 235 troops were to fly out of Jakarta Thursday night, the first of three batches scheduled to fly out of Jakarta's international airport. The others will follow on Friday and Saturday, said Maj. Muhammad Irawadi, a spokesman for the Indonesian peacekeepers.
Indonesia, the world's most populous Muslim nation, was quick to offer troops to the Mideast force that will oversee the cease-fire.
The departure had been delayed repeatedly by logistical problems.
An advance team of around 130 Indonesians is already in place with Spanish peacekeepers in southern Lebanon.
The UN force consists of 6,000 soldiers and is expected to grow to 15,000.
Armored personnel carriers, trucks and ambulances emblazoned with white UN markings for the mission left Indonesia early this month aboard a US-flagged ship, the SS Wilson, the US Embassy said.
The whole of 850 Indonesian peacekeepers - among them was Lt. Agus Harimurti Yudhoyono, the son of Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono - was expected to join the UN peacekeeping force in Lebanon on Monday, Irawadi said.