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Ceasefire "Generaly Maintained" in Lebanon

Israel-Hizbollah Cessation Of Hostilities ‘Generally Maintained,’ Un Lebanon Force Says

The Security Council-imposed cessation of hostilities between Israel and Hizbollah was generally maintained in the past 24 hours, with three incidents reported><"http://www.un.org/Depts/dpko/missions/unifil/pr031.pdf">reported, according to the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (<"http://www.un.org/Depts/dpko/missions/unifil/">UNIFIL), which has been in talks on facilitating a withdrawal of Israeli forces and the deployment of the Lebanese Army.

The Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) and Hizbollah exchanged fire in the area of Haddathah, the Force said. Peacekeepers who arrived on the spot shortly after the incident observed four dead bodies of Hizbollah members which were later taken away in an ambulance.

In another incident last night, an IDF tank positioned on the Israeli side fired one round across the Blue Line into Lebanese territory towards the village of Markaba, the mission reported. There was no response from the other side and the situation in the area remains calm.

Yesterday afternoon, an Israeli aircraft violated Lebanese airspace in the eastern sector, UNIFIL said.

The peacekeeping mission continued contacts with both the Lebanese Army and the Israeli Army with a view to facilitating an early withdrawal of the Israeli Army and the deployment of the Lebanese Armed Forces in the south.

The UNIFIL Force Commander “met with the senior representatives of the Lebanese Army and the Israeli Army this morning inside the UNIFIL position at the border crossing at Ras Naqoura to discuss and coordinate the process of the Israeli withdrawal and subsequent deployment of the Lebanese Army in specific areas in the south,” the mission said in a news releῡse.

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.

Yesterday, a senior UN official said the world body would like to see “a kind of vanguard element of some 3,000 or 3,500 troops, including support units” possibly deployed within the next 10 days or so to support the fragile truce.

Ends

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