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Residents clash with peacekeepers in Lebanon

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Residents clash with peacekeepers in Lebanon

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There have been growing tensions between UN peacekeepers and residents of southern Lebanon.

In the latest of several recent incidents, villagers threw stones at a French peacekeeping patrol and tried to seize their weapons. The patrol leader was slightly injured.

Lebanese troops later restored calm.

The incident happened after the United Nations Interim Force In Lebanon (UNIFIL) troops arrested a young man in the village of Kabrikha, in the Hizbollah heartland near Lebanon’s border with Israel.

Local resentment towards the UNIFIL presence in the region was echoed by one woman who said that what the peacekeepers did was not acceptable and that local people have their own resistance in the area to protect them. “This is a message to Israel that we are brave here and can defend ourselves,” she added.

The peacekeepers’ mission is to oversee the ceasefire that ended the 2006 war between Hizbollah and Israel. But while Hizbollah accuses UNIFIL of overstepping its mandate, Israel claims the peacekeepers are failing to prevent Hizbollah re-arming.