UN peacekeeping force in Lebanon condemns reported rocket fire into Israel, initiates probe

UNIFIL Force Commander, Maj. Gen Paolo Serra. Photo: UNIFIL

22 August 2013 – The United Nations peacekeeping force monitoring the Israeli-Lebanese border has sent a helicopter to investigate reports of rockets launched from the area of the southern town of Tyre into Israel.

In a statement issued to the press, the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL), in close coordination with the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF), said it launched an investigation into the purported rocket fire reported this afternoon Lebanon time.

UNIFIL is also in contact with the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) to determine possible impact sites, according to the statement.

“This action endangers the local civilian population,” said UNIFIL Force Commander, Maj. Gen Paolo Serra. “It also shows that there are people who would like to disturb the quiet in this area and put at risk the gains achieved by the LAF and UNIFIL during the past years. I strongly condemn this violation.”

Maj. Gen Serra has urged LAF and IDF “to exercise maximum restraint, to cooperate with UNIFIL to prevent an escalation, which is not in the interest of the parties, and to ensure that the incident remains isolated.”

According to the statement, the parties confirmed their interest in keeping the situation under control and pledged to cooperate and work closely with UNIFIL.

Established in 1978, UNIFIL is tasked with ensuring that the area between the Blue Line and the Litani River is free of unauthorized weapons, personnel and assets. It also cooperates with the LAF so they can fulfil their security responsibilities.

Maj. Gen Serra stressed that the purported attack would not deter UNIFIL from its mission, and will strengthen the force’s resolve to do everything within its capacity to ensure that the present calm remains.


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