UNIFIL member injured in assault in south Lebanon

UNIFIL member injured in assault in south Lebanon
A UNIFIL soldier was lightly injured by a group of rock-throwing men in southern Lebanon on Wednesday night.
3 min read
28 December, 2023
UNIFIL's role as a peacekeeper along the Lebanese-Israeli border has come under scrutiny since the eruption of clashes between Hezbollah and Israel on 8 October.

A member of the Indonesian unit of the UN Peacekeeping Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) was injured on Wednesday after the patrol was attacked by a group of men in the southern Lebanese town of Taybeh.

The injury was minor, with photos after the incident showing a UNIFIL soldier with a laceration on the back of his head, as well as a patrol car with a shattered windshield.

"The incident was perpetrated by unknown people. We are following up with the army to determine their background, but of course they are not affiliated with anyone because we have a good relationship with UNIFIL," Abbas Diab, the mayor of Taybeh, told The New Arab.

Another UNIFIL patrol was briefly blocked by residents on Thursday morning as peacekeepers crossed through the central border town of Kafr Kela on their way to the eastern sector headquarters, a UNIFIL spokesperson told TNA.

"Attacks on men and women serving the cause of peace are not only condemnable, but they are also violations of [UNSCR] 1701 and Lebanese law," a UNIFIL statement on 28 December read.

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UNIFIL is tasked with monitoring the Blue Line, a UN line that demarcates Lebanese and Israeli territory in lieu of a settled border.

The UN force is also responsible for monitoring violations of UNSCR 1701, which mandated the withdrawal of Israel from Lebanon after the July 2006 war and the disarmament of armed groups along the Lebanese border.

The group has faced repeated instances of violence from both sides during the cross-border clashes between Hezbollah and Israel since 8 October.

The UNIFIL base in Naqoura, southern Lebanon, has been struck by rocket fire from unknown assailants multiple times over the last eleven weeks. On 25 November, a UNIFIL patrol was hit by Israeli gunfire near the southern Lebanese town of Aytaroun, with no injuries recorded.

A year earlier, in December 2022, Irish UNIFIL peacekeeper Sean Rooney was killed by five men in southern Lebanon after a patrol took a wrong turn.

The five men who were charged for the killing were said by a senior Lebanese judicial source to be connected to Hezbollah – a claim denied by the group.

Israel has renewed its calls for the implementation of UNSCR 1701 since the beginning of cross-border clashes eleven weeks ago, particularly emphasising that Hezbollah should have no presence south of the Litani river which sits some 30 kilometres from the border.

Western powers have reportedly floated the idea of a strengthened UNIFIL force in order to ensure that the UN agreement is fully executed on the ground.

Hezbollah has said that it will not engage in any negotiations on resolution 1701 or border demarcation as long as Israel's operation in Gaza continues.