More Indonesian troops on way to Lebanon

A third and final batch of Indonesians left Saturday to join a UN peacekeeping force in Lebanon, lifting the Asian nation's Middle East deployment to more than 830 troops. The Indonesian forces will join a UN mission of around 6,000 personnel monitoring a cease-fire between Israel and the Shiite Muslim group Hezbollah. The two sides fought a devastating war in Lebanon earlier this year. On Saturday, 236 forces, including logistics and information officers, took off from Jakarta's Sukarno-Hatta International Airport on board an ATA Airlines plane, said Maj. Muhammad Irawadi, a spokesman for the Indonesian contingent. Speaking while boarding the L-1011 Tristar commercial aircraft, Irawadi said the last batch brought to 706 the number of forces to have left since Thursday. An advance team of around 130 Indonesians - among them Lt. Agus Harimurti Yudhoyono, the son of President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono - arrived in Lebanon early this month and is now with Spanish peacekeepers in southern Lebanon. The departure of the mission had been delayed repeatedly by logistical problems. As the world's most populous Muslim nation, Indonesia was quick to offer troops, armored personnel carriers, trucks and ambulances to the UN force in the Mideast, which is expected to grow to 15,000.