A French cargo ship loaded with tanks and armoured vehicles has docked in Beirut, as part of Paris’s contribution to the UN force charged with keeping the peace in Lebanon. France is providing 2,000 soldiers for the mission. Their task is delicate and dangerous. Yesterday, Al Qaeda’s Deputy Leader Ayman al-Zawahri condemned UN forces in Lebanon as ‘enemies of Islam’ – the first implicit threat against the detachment. Meanwhile, Hizbollah has held its first rally in Beirut since the end of its 34-day conflict with Israel. Supporters filled the streets of a suburb devastated by Israeli air raids. There, they heard claims of victory in the war as well as calls for the Lebanese government to resign, with scorn poured on it for receiving Britain’s Prime Minister Tony Blair for talks on Monday. Amid apologies for the absence of Hizbollah’s leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, those gathered were also told the recent conflict made any talk of disarming the group out of the question.
UN Lebanon force is strengthened