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Israel begins handover to Lebanese army

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Israel begins handover to Lebanese army


As part of coordinated moves to consolidate a ceasefire, the Lebanese army has entered a town that was the scene of some of the fiercest fighting between Israel and Hizbollah guerrillas. A convoy of armoured personnel carriers drove into Beit Jbeil under the gaze of Israeli forces in the surrounding hills. A short time later a UN commander arrived to monitor the situation. The UN has said a joint meeting with Lebanese and Israeli officers on Monday had brought closer a full Israeli troop withdrawal in line with the Security Council resolution that ended the conflict.

Israeli troops have yet to hand over some positions in south Lebanon to a new strengthened UN force and the Lebanese army, keeping villagers nervous that violence might erupt again. The issue of who should guard the Israeli flanks while they pull out is one reason for the delay. Israel wants French Marines to undertake the task but the Lebanese want German soldiers to fulfil the role.

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