UNIFIL convoy comes under hail of stones in south Lebanon

Two peacekeepers lightly wounded, several vehicles damaged as resident throw rocks in town of Srifa.

By OREN KESSLER
June 29, 2011 04:39
1 minute read.
UNIFIL peacekeepers at the Israel-Lebanon border.

UNIFIL in Lebanon 311. (photo credit: Courtesy)

 
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Two peacekeepers from the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) were lightly wounded in south Lebanon on Monday night when residents threw stones at their convoy.

The troops had departed from Beirut and were passing through the town of Srifa when the incident occurred, said Lt.-Col. Gokul Bhandaree, the military spokesman for UNIFIL.

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“Two peacekeepers received light injuries from stones thrown at them and several vehicles got damaged,” UNIFIL said in a statement.

“[The] Lebanese Army intervened to calm the situation and the convoy continued on its way” shortly afterward.

“UNIFIL and LAF [the Lebanese Armed Forces] are conducting investigations in order to ascertain all the facts and circumstances relating to the incident. The situation in the area remains quiet,” the statement said.

A security source told Beirut’s Daily Star newspaper that the peacekeepers belonged to the Belgian contingent serving in UNIFIL.

“Two peacekeepers received light injuries,” Bhandaree said. While not revealing their identities, he said several UNIFIL vehicles were also damaged in a “short standoff.”

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An additional 200 Irish troops had been deployed on Sunday to join the mission in south Lebanon, the paper reported, quoting Irish media reports.

The group is the third group of Irish peacekeepers to have joined UNIFIL this year.

There are currently 440 Irish soldiers serving as peacekeepers in Lebanon. Located in the south Lebanon village of Tibnin, the Irish battalion is expected to conduct civilian protection missions and ensure the arrival of humanitarian supplies.

UNIFIL – created in 1978 to monitor the security of south Lebanon during the Lebanese Civil War – currently comprises some 13,000 soldiers from more than 30 countries.

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