On July 3, a UNIFIL patrol was attacked and overpowered by Shi'ites in
the southern village of Kabrikha, Middle East Newsline reported. Officials said the villagers, after one of
them had been arrested, pelted UN troops and seized their weapons.
This marked at least the second attack on a UNIFIL patrol in less than a
week. In both cases, the Lebanese Army, which eventually recovered the
UNIFIL weapons, refused to intervene.
"It is incumbent on the Lebanese authorities to ensure the security and
freedom of movement for UNIFIL within its area of operation," UNIFIL
commander Maj. Gen. Alberto Asarta Cuevas said.
Since 2007, UNIFIL has deployed 13,500 troops in southern Lebanon in an
effort to maintain the ceasefire between Israel and Hizbullah. Under the
ceasefire, Hizbullah was prevented from restoring its presence south of the
Over the last two months, tension has escalated between Lebanon
and UNIFIL. On July 2, UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon cited a series of
confrontations between peacekeepers and Lebanese Shi'ites, which he
attributed to the reported arrival of Scud-class missiles to Hizbullah in
On June 29, Shi'ites attacked a UNIFIL vehicle between the villages of
Adeisseh and Kfar Kila. The Shi'ites blocked a road and hurled stones toward
a UN patrol during what officials termed a "maximum deployment exercise."
The exercise, meant to ensure troop readiness, was said to have ended on the
"In cooperation with the Lebanese Army, UNIFIL is making every effort to
talk to the communities and explain to them the nature and purpose of the
activity in order to clear any misunderstandings they may have in this
regard," Cuevas said.
Hizbullah has denied involvement in the attacks on UNIFIL.
The Shi'ite militia, which dominates the government of Prime Minister Said
Hariri, said the confrontations stemmed from UNIFIL's failure to coordinate
with the Lebanese Army.
"The situation can be calmed by a change in the conduct of the
international forces," Hizbullah deputy secretary-general Naim Kassem said.