UN peacekeepers attacked in south Lebanon near Israel border

UN peacekeepers attacked in south Lebanon near Israel border

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Beirut: A UN official said on Wednesday that unknown perpetrators attacked a group of UN peacekeepers in southern Lebanon, damaged their vehicles and stole their official belongings.

Such scuffles with UN peacekeepers are not uncommon in southern Lebanon since the peacekeeping force was expanded following the 2006 war between Israel and the Lebanese militant Hezbollah group.

The UN force, known as UNIFIL, called on Lebanese authorities to “investigate quickly and thoroughly, and prosecute all those responsible for these crimes,” said Kandice Ardiel, a UNIFIL press official. She added that the attack occurred on Tuesday night.

Local media reported that residents of the southern town of Bentjebel clashed with Irish peacekeepers who said they were taking photos of their houses. The report added that the UN troops were not accompanied by the Lebanese army.

Bint Jbeil is a stronghold of Hezbollah, and most of its area was destroyed during the 2006 war.

Ardiel said that, contrary to the false information spread, the peacekeepers did not take photos or on private property. She added that the peacekeepers are going to meet members of the Lebanese Army for routine patrols.

“UNIFIL condemns attacks on men and women serving the cause of peace, which are violations of both Lebanese and international law,” Ardiel said, adding that UNIFIL also condemns those who manipulate local residents to serve their purposes.

UNIFIL was originally created to oversee the withdrawal of Israeli troops after a 1978 invasion. The mission was expanded in Lebanon under a UN-brokered truce after the monthlong war between Israel and Hezbollah militants in 2006.

A similar incident that occurred with peacekeepers in southern Lebanon at the end of last year was condemned by the Lebanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

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