Press: Israeli Mines Hamper UNIFIL Deployment in South Lebanon
An Israeli minefield on the Lebanese border has held up deployment of the United Nations peacekeeping force in southern Lebanon, Beirut press reports said Tuesday.
The Arabic-language daily An-Nahar said Ukrainian specialist troops would take several days to clear the 200 square meter (yard) minefield round the village of Yarun in the central sector of the border area.
The situation would be discussed Tuesday by Lebanese President Emile Lahoud and Prime Minister Salim Hoss, the paper said.
Some 200 men of the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) have deployed in six positions along the border in the zone occupied by Israeli troops until May 24, after Lebanese authorities gave them the go-ahead.
The pro-Syrian As-Safir said UNIFIL and Lebanese army commanders had agreed that a complete deployment into the former Israeli-held zone should take place Wednesday and Thursday.
But other press reports said this move, involving UNIFIL occupation of some 20 further positions, still required approval from Lahoud.
The earlier deployment was marred when members of Hizbollah movement, which has taken over much of the authority in the border strip since the Israeli departure in May, held up 40 Nepalese troops for some 90 minutes before allowing them to proceed to the border village of Rmeish.
The deployment of UNIFIL troops in the zone had been delayed several times because of new Israeli encroachments found during border inspections.
Lebanon says it will send in a joint force of its army and security forces, but will not deploy them up to the border with Israel, with which it has yet to sign a peace treaty - BEIRUT (AFP)
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