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Israel, Hizbollah Are Holding Fire

Israel, Hizbollah Are Holding Fire, UN’s Lebanon Force Reports

New York, Aug 15 2006

There have been no breaches of the Security Council-mandated cessation of hostilities between Israel and Hizbollah since it came into effect on Monday morning, the United Nations Interim Force for Lebanon (UNIFIL) reported today.

“The parties have ceased firing into the territory of or at the other side, and there were no attempts to occupy any additional territory,” the Force said following “intensive patrolling” throughout its area of operation. The Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) have maintained their presence inside Lebanese territory in different areas, with no “significant changes in position or strength,” UNIFIL said..

Under the resolution calling for the cessation of hostilities, the Security Council welcomed the Lebanese Government's plan to deploy 15,000 troops across the south of the country as Israel withdraws behind the Blue Line, and also backed the simultaneous deployment of an expanded and enhanced UNIFIL with up to 15,000 peacekeepers.

Today, UNIFIL said it continued contact with both Lebanese and Israeli military officials with a view to facilitating an early withdrawal of the Israeli side and the deployment of the Lebanese Armed Forces in the south.

Also today, the Force made an early assessment of the damage to the civilian infrastructure in parts of its area of operation, reporting that in the village of Tayyabah, 80 per cent of civilian houses have been destroyed. Other areas also suffered widespread damage. In addition, the bridge at Ain Arab, and the bridge over the Litani River in the area of Al Qusair have been completely destroyed.

With UN officials warning that unexploded shells, mines and other military debris pose as serious hazard to civilians, Chinese UN blue helmets have conducted controlled explosions of three dozen pieces of unexploded ordinance in the general area of Kafr Kila, and two in the vicinity of the Ras Naqoura border crossing on the Mediterranean coast.

The Force has also has been providing medical assistance and water to a number of local villages.

ENDS

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