A group of UNIFIL soldiers were injured Wednesday when their vehicle inadvertently ran over a “30-year-old landmine” in southern Lebanon, according to the Al Masdar News website.
A military source in Beirut told Al Masdar the UNIFIL vehicle was patrolling along the Lebanese-Israeli border, driving off pavement near the village of Maqam, when it hit the landmine.
The explosive reportedly dated back to the Lebanese Civil War, according to the report. The UN soldiers were rushed to the nearest field hospital by the ambulance that arrived at the scene.
UNIFIL — the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon — was originally created by the UN Security Council in March 1978 to “confirm Israeli withdrawal from Lebanon, restore international peace and security and assist the Lebanese government in restoring its effective authority in the area,” according to the agency’s website.
After the 2006 Second Lebanon War, the Security Council “enhanced” that mandate. The force was ordered to monitor the cessation of hostilities; accompany and support the Lebanese armed forces as they deploy throughout the south of Lebanon; and “extend its assistance to help ensure humanitarian access to civilian populations and the voluntary and safe return of displaced persons.”
In addition, the force was tasked with ensuring that no weapons or armed militias other than the Lebanese government forces were to enter the region — a mandate that was blithely ignored within seconds after it was set forth.
Since the ceasefire (UN resolution 1701) the Hezbollah guerrilla terrorist group has taken control over the country and has exerted significant control over the government as well. The terrorist group possesses possibly the largest arsenal in the entire hemisphere, thanks to the generous support of Iran, and has completely restocked and exceeded the prior supply level of rockets and missiles it held at the start of the Second Lebanon War.
The group has been threatening for the past five years to eventually invade Israel and seize control of the Galilee. As a result, the Israeli military has begun to include military and civilian drills that feature evacuations of the civilian populations of major northern Israeli cities, in response to those threats.Hana Levi Julian