January 08, 2010

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UN peacekeepers discover big Hezbollah arms cache in southern Lebanon United Nations peacekeepers in Lebanon have uncovered ten bombs in a weapons cache near the Israeli border. According to the Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem, the arms were probably produced in Iran or Syria and planted near the border by Hezbollah fighters. Israel’s UN ambassador in New York, Gabriela Shalev, wrote in a letter to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and the Security Council, from which the ‘Reuters’ news agency quoted, that peacekeepers had encountered “suspicious individuals” on 26 December 2009 and later found pits containing around 300 kilograms of explosive devices. Shalev said the devices “were possibly industrially produced in Iran or Syria.” She added that the “types of explosives and the manner in which they were deployed” showed that Hezbollah had planted them. Israeli media said the bombs were buried by Hezbollah operatives in preparation for an attack on an Israeli army patrol. Security Council Resolution 1701, which ended the 34-day war in 2006 between Israel and Hezbollah, banned all unauthorized weapons between the Litani River and the Blue Line, the UN-monitored border between Israel and Lebanon. In the past, Israel criticized the 12,000-strong UN peacekeeping force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) for not stopping arms deliveries to Hezbollah guerrillas. The United Nations said that was the responsibility of the Lebanese authorities. “The Lebanese government must take serious steps in order to tackle the growing phenomenon of Hezbollah military activity, particularly in civilian villages,” Shalev wrote in her letter.

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