Blast hits UN forces in Lebanon
BEIRUT - The Associated PressA roadside bomb struck a vehicle carrying United Nations peacekeepers in southern Lebanon on Dec. 9, wounding five French soldiers and a Lebanese bystander, officials said.
This was the third bombing this year targeting the international force known as UNIFIL, which is deployed to keep the peace along Lebanon’s southern border with Israel. No group has claimed responsibility for the attacks.
The explosion comes amid fears that violence in neighboring Syria might spread into the tiny Mediterranean nation, which was dominated by Damascus for three decades until Syrian troops withdrew in 2005. French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe called on Lebanese authorities to bring those responsible to justice and to guarantee the security of the peacekeepers.
“France, determined to carry out its commitment within (UNIFIL), will not let itself be intimidated by these despicable acts,” Juppe said in a statement. The militant Hezbollah group, which enjoys wide support in southern Lebanon, condemned the bombing. It said in a statement that such acts of violence “target Lebanon’s security and the stability of its south in particular.” The bomb exploded in the Bourj al-Shamali area, near the port city of Tyre, said a Lebanese security official who spoke on condition of anonymity in line with regulations. The Lebanese Red Cross said that a civilian was also wounded. France said the wounded soldiers were evacuated for medical treatment.