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Suleiman pledges more protection for UNIFIL

Dec. 22, 2011 at 9:32 AM
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DEIR KIFA, Lebanon, Dec. 22 (UPI) -- Lebanese President Michel Suleiman promised Thursday more protection for U.N. peacekeepers two weeks after five French peacekeeping troops were attacked.

Suleiman, accompanied by Defense Minister Fayez Ghosn and Gen. Jean Kahwaji, Lebanese army commander, was flown by helicopter for an unannounced visit to the headquarters of the French contingent of the U.N. Interim Force in Lebanon in Deir Kifa near the southern coastal city of Tyre, The (Beirut) Daily Star reported.

Suleiman said Lebanese authorities were still investigating the Dec. 9 roadside bomb attack on a patrol of the French contingent of UNIFIL in Burj al-Shemali near Tyre.

Suleiman is to hold talks with French UNIFIL officers.

France reportedly considered pulling its UNIFIL forces out as a result of the attack, the third on U.N. peacekeeping forces this year.

Six Italian peacekeepers were wounded in a May attack and five French soldiers in a July attack.

Italy decided after the May attack to reduce the size of its contingent, and France now has the largest contingent with the peacekeeping force.

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