Crowd seizes UN peacekeeping equipment in southern Lebanon – Naharnet
A crowd seized equipment from a UNIFIL convoy in southern Lebanon after blocking its route, the UN peacekeeping force said of its latest clash with locals.
The incident, which required the intervention of the Lebanese army, occurred on Friday as the UNIFIL convoy passed through the village of Kaouthariyet al-Saiyad on its way back to the base, the statement said.
“A large group of civilians (…) dispossessed the UNIFIL patrol of items and equipment,” the statement said, without specifying what was taken.
Lebanon and Israel are still technically at war, and the United Nations force is patrolling the border between the two.
The convoy was able to leave the village after the intervention of the army, “although the material was not returned to the peacekeepers,” the statement added.
Seizure of UNIFIL equipment by civilians is rare, but sporadic incidents occur between the force and members of the local population, sometimes blocking patrol routes.
The region is a stronghold of Hezbollah, which is a heavyweight in Lebanese politics and the arch enemy of neighboring Israel.
Established in 1978, UNIFIL was strengthened after a devastating month-long war in 2006 between Israel and Hezbollah.
The force of 10,500 men, in coordination with the Lebanese army, is tasked with monitoring a ceasefire and the Israeli withdrawal from a demilitarized zone on the border.
In August, the Security Council extended the mandate of UNIFIL by one year.