Lebanon: UN officials work to restore calm after clashes across withdrawal line

20 July 2004

United Nations officials are working to restore calm in Lebanon, where clashes today between Hezbollah and Israeli forces turned deadly.

According to preliminary reports from the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL), a Hezbollah sniper fired across the western part of the Blue Line, which marks the withdrawal line of Israeli forces, at an Israeli army position. Two Israeli soldiers were mortally wounded.

Israeli units retaliated with missiles and tank rounds fired back across the Blue Line killing a Hezbollah fighter, a UN spokesman reported.

"The situation surrounding the Blue Line remains tense," Fred Eckhard told reporters in New York.

UNIFIL Force Commander Maj. Gen. Alain Pellegrini and the Secretary-General's Personal Representative for Southern Lebanon, Staffan de Mistura, "are actively working with both sides to appeal for calm and avoid any further escalation," the spokesman said.


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