Dec. 9 (Bloomberg) -- At least five United Nations peacekeepers were injured in an explosion in southern Lebanon, said Andrea Tenenti, deputy spokesman for the UN unit.
The blast targeted the patrol of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon and took place at about 9:30 a.m. on the outskirts of the port city of Tyre, Tenenti said in a statement today. The five soldiers were evacuated for treatment, and UN and Lebanese investigators are working at the scene, he said.
Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati condemned the attack. “These crimes don’t only target the international forces but also the security, stability and security of all Lebanese,” he said in an e-mailed statement.
Unifil’s 12,000 soldiers and civilian police officers are monitoring a cease-fire between Israel and the Shiite Muslim Hezbollah movement that followed a monthlong conflict along the Israeli-Lebanese border in 2006. UN soldiers have been in southern Lebanon since 1978, when Unifil was created to verify an Israeli withdrawal from the south after an invasion that year. Israel invaded Lebanon again in 1982 and withdrew in 2000. The UN force was enlarged after the 2006 conflict.
Six soldiers were injured in a July 26 attack on the UN forces in a convoy near the city of Sidon, and six Italian peacekeepers were injured in a May 27 bombing in southern Lebanon. In June 2007, a bomb attack on the Spanish battalion in the UN mission killed six peacekeepers. No one has taken responsibility for the deaths.
--Editors: Ben Holland, Heather Langan.
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