Lebanon: UN peacekeeping force reaches 10,500
The enhanced United Nations peacekeeping force sent to Lebanon this summer to monitor the cessation of hostilities between Israel and Hizbollah now totals 10,500 troops from 21 countries, just 4,500 below its mandated maximum strength, with additional personnel arriving from Indonesia, Portugal and Italy.
Some 8,800 are ground troops and 1,700 naval personnel, a UN spokesman said today. Security Council Resolution 1701, which ended 34 days of fighting in August, mandates strengthening UNIFIL to a maximum of 15,000 troops.
Israel has withdrawn from all positions it occupied during the fighting, except for one, a section of Ghajar village that is on the Lebanese side of the Blue Line separating the two countries. UNIFIL commanders have been in regular talks with senior Lebanese and Israeli officers on the issue.
A complete Israeli withdrawal, together with Lebanese army deployment in southern Lebanon, is a key clause in Resolution 1701.
Over the past week, UNIFIL de-miners from various national contingents destroyed more than 300 separate explosive devices, including rockets, grenades, and cluster bombs.
UNIFIL peacekeepers also continue to provide humanitarian assistance to the local population, including medical, dental and veterinary aid.