UN Lebanon Peacekeepers Evacuate Families From Northern Israel
United Nations families linked to peacekeeping service in Lebanon have been evacuated from their homes in northern Lebanon, a UN officer said Wednesday.
"The general secretariat of the United Nations in New York suggested the evacuation to Vienna of those families that wanted it because of the mounting tension on the Lebanese-Israeli border and in the Middle East," said the officer from the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL).
"Most of them left Saturday night and on Sunday," said the officer, who asked not to be identified.
The exact number of evacuees was not given, but dependents of UNIFIL personnel living in Nahariyya, which is 10 kilometers (6 miles) south of the border with Lebanon, was recently estimated at 100.
UN civilian employees whose jobs were not considered "essential" were also advised to leave, but the number of them that may have done so is not known, the officer said.
The majority of the roughly 6,000 UNIFIL troops and employees stationed in Lebanon came without their families, with only certain administrative officials and officers accompanied by dependents.
UNIFIL's general headquarters is located in the coastal town of Naqoura, just inside Lebanon.
Despite calm on the border in recent days, tensions remain high following the announcement on Sunday by Lebanon's Shiite Muslim fundamentalist group Hezbollah that it had captured what it said was a colonel in the Israeli reserves.
A week earlier, two Palestinians were killed when Israeli troops fired on a group of refugees throwing stones at them from the Lebanese side of the border.
That same day, Hezbollah captured three Israeli soldiers during an attack on an army observation post in the Shebaa Farms area -- NAQOURA (AFP)
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