UNIFIL to be cleared to shoot in self-defense

UN peacekeepers in Lebanon will likely have the right to open fire to defend themselves and to protect civilians, but will be barred from actively searching for Hizbullah weapons, a French report said Tuesday. Le Monde newspaper said it had obtained a copy of a 21-page document laying out the provisional rules of engagement for the force, newly strengthened under a UN Security Council resolution. The document, not yet approved, was stamped "UN Restricted," the newspaper said. The Foreign Ministry did not immediately respond to calls seeking confirmation. While the United Nations is trying to secure more troops to boost the force from 2,000 troops to up to 15,000, many European countries have been unwilling to commit peacekeepers without establishing more explicit rules of engagement. EU officials in Brussels were to meet Wednesday to discuss troop contributions.