Saturday, 28 May 2011

IED Explosion Injured Six UNIFIL Soldiers

Local Editor

Two Italian peacekeepers were badly hurt in an explosion targeting their UN patrol in Lebanon as a roadside bomb targeting a UN patrol exploded along a highway in south Lebanon on Friday.

"Of the two who were gravely wounded, one risks losing his eye while the other suffered a laceration of his carotid artery and has already been operated" on, La Russa told reporters in Milan.

The incident – occurred in the southern city of Sidon - came two days before the United Nations marks Peacekeepers Day.

Neeraj Singh, a UNIFIL spokesman in Beirut said six soldiers were wounded along with two civilians in the explosion, for which no group immediately claimed responsibility.

George Fuhaili, head of the emergency room at Hammoud Hospital in Sidon, said that two of the soldiers were in critical condition.

The explosion went off as the UNIFIL patrol was passing an entrance to Sidon on the highway linking the capital Beirut to south Lebanon.

An earlier report from Italian news agency ANSA citing defense ministry sources had said that one soldier was killed in the blast.

Earlier in the day, UNIFIL held a ceremony at its headquarters in the southern village of Naqura close to the Israeli border to honor 292 peacekeepers killed since the force was established in 1978.

The multinational force currently has 12,000 troops stationed in south Lebanon.

The force has been the target of three other unclaimed attacks, the latest in January 2008 when two Irish officers were wounded by a roadside bomb.

In the deadliest incident, three Spanish and three Colombian peacekeepers were killed in June of 2007 when a booby-trapped car exploded as their patrol vehicle drove by.

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