Malaysian peacekeepers leave for Lebanon

An initial batch of 100 Malaysian soldiers left Tuesday for Lebanon to join a UN peacekeeping mission, the national news agency reported. The remaining 260 soldiers in the 360-man team that Malaysia has pledged will leave on Jan. 15, Bernama quoted Deputy Defense Minister Zainal Abidin as saying. The 100 soldiers, comprising 11 officers and 89 men of various ranks from the army, navy and air force, received a briefing at an air force base before being driven to the Kuala Lumpur International Airport for their flight to Beirut, Bernama said. All 360 soldiers will be based at the headquarters of United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon, or UNIFIL, in Naqoura to serve in the district of Marjayoun. They will be replaced by a second group after six months.