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Blast wounds UN peacekeepers in South Lebanon

At least seven wounded, including two passersby; attack follows May, July attacks on UNIFIL peacekeepers.

Gaza rocket fire continues after IAF strike -

Violence across Israeli-Gaza border escalated Thursday with IAF air strikes killing at least two people and Palestinian militants firing rockets deep into southern Israel on Friday.


TYRE - A roadside bomb wounded five French peacekeepers in southern Lebanon on Friday, in the third attack this year on United Nations forces deployed near the frontier with Israel.

The blast hit a jeep carrying French UNIFIL troops on the outskirts of the Mediterranean port city of Tyre.
"I can confirm that a UNIFIL vehicle was hit by an explosion in Tyre," UNIFIL spokesman Andrea Tenenti said. "Five peacekeepers were injured."

The attack follows bombings in May and July against French and Italian peacekeepers and comes as the United Nations prepares a review of its 12,000-strong operation, which was beefed up after the Second Lebanon War in 2006.

A Reuters reporter saw a jeep with its windows blown out and several wounded peacekeepers at the scene minutes after the explosion in the Burj al-Shamali district on the eastern edge of Tyre.

Most of the injuries were light but medical sources said one of the UNIFIL soldiers was badly wounded.
Security sources said two passersby were also hurt.

Italy reduced its contribution to UNIFIL to 1,100 soldiers from 1,800 after six of its peacekeepers were wounded in May, although diplomats said the decision to cut its contingent had been taken before the attack.

Two months later six French soldiers were wounded in another attack.
Tenenti said Friday's bombing would "not divert us from our task" and Lebanon's Prime Minister Najib Mikati also said the peacekeepers would continue their mission.

"Lebanon considers these attacks as targeting its own security and stability, not only UNIFIL," Mikati said. "These attacks will not have an influence on UNIFIL's work in the south, nor on the French contingent... Lebanon, as a state and people, are in solidarity with the international forces and condemn attacks against them."

Lebanese President Michel Suleiman alleged that the attack was designed to forceUNIFIL's withdrawal from the country and to obstruct its work in the South, according to the Lebanese Daily Star newspaper.

French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe said Paris would "not be intimidated by such disgraceful acts", urging Lebanon to bring the perpetrators to justice and ensure the safety and freedom of movement of UN forces.

The UN Security Council called in August for a review of UNIFIL operations in Lebanon by the end of the year, aimed partly at assessing whether the Lebanese army could assume greater role in operations. Diplomats say the results of the review are unlikely to be issued for several months.

The border area has remained relatively quiet since 2006, although 10 Palestinian demonstrators were killed in May after troops fired upon protesters near the shared border at Marun Aras.

Last year a senior IDF officer, two Lebanese soldiers and a Lebanese journalist were killed when Lebanese and Israeli troops clashed at the border.

Relentless fire: Two Qassam rockets were fired at the Hof Ashkelon Regional Council at noon on Thursday. No injuries or damage were reported.

Earlier on Friday, a Qassam rocket exploded in an open area in the Shaar Hanegev Regional Council. No injuries or damage were reported. A Color Red alarm was sounded in the area.

The IDF carried out a strike against two targets in the Gaza Strip overnight which Palestinian reports claim left one person dead.

Gaza sources said that a Hamas training camp near Gaza city was hit in the strike and that shrapnel hit nearby residential buildings. One person was killed and 25 others, mostly women and children, were wounded as a result.

The Palestinian Ma'an news agency reported that among the victims were seven members of one family. According to the report, the person killed is 38-year-old Bahajat Zaalan. Among the victims are seven children between the ages of six months and 13, two of whom are in serious condition.

The IDF Spokesperson's Unit said that the air raid involved "additional blasts which were caused by the presence of arms in terrorist centers that were attacked." The statement noted that "the IDF regrets injuries caused to innocents but stresses that Hamas is accountable."

The strike was a response to the firing of five rockets at south Israel on Thursday. The fire came several hours after two Al-Aqsa Brigades' operatives were killed in an IAF strike in Gaza Strip.,7340,L-4159215,00.html

Added: Dec-9-2011 Occurred On: Dec-9-2011
By: aydeo
Other Middle East
Tags: UN peacekeepers, Blast, South Lebanon, Gaza rocket fire, IAF strike
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