Lebanese Army finally Moves into Ex-Israeli Ally's Headquarters in Jezzine
Lebanon's military finally deployed Tuesday in Jezzine, south Lebanon, the former headquarters of a pro-Israeli militia, for the first time since Israel's withdrawal in May, police said.
About 50 soldiers, backed by armored vehicles, took up positions at Kfar Huna and Dahr al-Ramleh, two strategic crossroads leading to the central and eastern parts of the former Israeli-occupied zone, police said.
They cleaned out the former barracks of Israel's ally, the South Lebanon Army, at the northern edge of the Christian town of Jezzine before taking it over.
Lebanese soldiers who have been stationed at Homsyeh, near Jezzine, since 1985, despite the SLA presence, will soon deploy here, police said.
Residents had been begging the Lebanese military to fill the security vacuum since the SLA pulled out of Jezzine in June 1999, but the Lebanese government had refused. Israel itself finally left south Lebanon last May.
The United States and other western countries have been calling for Lebanese troops to be deployed all the way up to the border with Israel to ensure that there is peace.
However, Lebanon has been reluctant, saying it would not guarantee Israel's security -- whether from Lebanese guerrillas or Palestinians in Lebanon.
The beginning of the deployment in Jezzine comes several weeks after 1,000 military and policemen moved into other parts of the former occupied zone -- JEZZINE, Lebanon (AFP)
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