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Lebanon: UN Force In South Holding Its Positions

LEBANON: UN FORCE IN SOUTH HOLDING ITS POSITIONS DURING STRIFE

New York, Jul 18 2006 5:00PM

The United Nation peacekeeping mission in southern Lebanon reports that, while heavy exchanges of fire continue along the so-called Blue Line between Israel and Lebanon, its troops are maintaining all their positions.

The UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) said during the past day rockets were fired from Lebanese territory and intensive bombing and shelling came from the Israeli side, with 15 incidents of firing close to UNIFIL locations. A position close to the village of Marwahin suffered one direct hit from the Israeli side causing material damage but no injuries.

On the humanitarian front, UNIFIL said it continued to cooperate closely with the Lebanese authorities, and they have decided to set up a joint coordination centre for humanitarian activities in Tyre in the western sector, and Marjayoun in the eastern sector.

As the situation in Lebanon persists, a UN spokesman said today that the safety and security of all UN personnel is a growing concern for the Organization, and contingency planning for evacuating non-essential staff and dependents of staff members has begun.

So far, all UN staff and their dependents are accounted for, with the exception of one staff member and his spouse and the spokesman said all efforts are being deployed to locate them. Two staff members are reported wounded but their lives are not in danger, he added.

Meanwhile, arrangements are being made to ensure continuity of UNIFIL’s key functions, he said.

2006-07-18 00:00:00.000

ENDS

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