UN soldiers, locals clash in south Lebanon
Italian UNIFIL peacekeepers
Islam Times - A bitter dispute has erupted between United Nations peacekeepers and residents of a small village in southern Lebanon after the foreign troops allegedly started taking photographs of the area.
Residents of the southern border village of Aita Shaab, situated 125 kilometers (77 miles) south of the capital Beirut, prevented members of the Italian contingent of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) from entering a neighborhood of the village on Sunday, after they suspected the UN troops had taken photographs of the area, the English-language newspaper the Daily Star reported.
Residents confiscated a camera belonging to the UN soldiers during the confrontation.
Lebanese Army Intelligence forces later intervened, calming down the situation. They have attempted to negotiate with the residents to return the camera back to the UN forces, but to no avail.
UNIFIL was originally created by the UN Security Council in March 1978 to confirm Israel's withdrawal from Lebanon, restore international peace and security, and assist the Lebanese government in restoring its effective authority in the area.
The mandate had to be adjusted twice due to the developments in 1982 and 2000.
Following the Israeli war on Lebanon in the summer of 2006, the Security Council enhanced UNIFIL and decided that in addition to the original mandate, it would, among other things, monitor the cessation of hostilities.
It would also accompany and support the Lebanese armed forces as they were deployed throughout the south of Lebanon, extend its assistance to help ensure humanitarian access to civilian populations, and the safe return of displaced persons.
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