UNIFIL force reaches 11,083 soldiers

Monday, January 01, 2007 |  by Staff Writer
The United Nations has announced Sunday that on the eve of the new civilian year, the international UNIFIL force deployed in southern Lebanon as a result of the war has reached a total of 11,083 soldiers from 26 countries, including 9,167 ground forces and 1,777 naval and marine forces.

According to the UN, the Arab nation of Qatar in the Persian Gulf has launched a contingent of 200 soldiers to the UN force. This is the first group of soldiers from an Arab country to join UNIFIL, and this is the first time that Qatar has ever sent any troops to a peacekeeping mission.

In addition, the Malaysian official news agency has announced last week that the government has approved the deployment of a 360-member Malaysian team, who will depart for southern Lebanon on January 15 to begin their duties with the UN peacekeeping force.

The UNIFIL forces are continuing to give humanitarian assistance to the local population, including medical assistance and even dentistry. Only in the past week, the UNIFIL forces have treated the teeth of 55 Lebanese and have given medical treatment to 300 additional Lebanese citizens.

In addition to the humanitarian work, the forces are also continuing with the security duties, including the dismantling of explosives left behind after the war. According to UN figures, the forces have defused 1,019 missiles, grenades, cluster bombs, anti-tank and anti-personnel mines during the past week alone. Since the ceasefire on August 14, the forces have dismantled a total of 16,819 charges of different types.

A statement issued by the Israeli Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem said that “we are pleased that the deployment of the UNIFIL force in Lebanon has been carried out and completed according to plan.”

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