An Italian-led naval task force has taken over control of Lebanon’s coastline after Israel ended its eight-week sea blockade aimed at preventing Hizbollah from rearming. Now four Italian ships will support the Lebanese navy in monitoring Lebanon’s territorial waters.
A Greek frigate carrying about 200 sailors left Cyprus on Friday to strengthen the force. They will be joined by two French frigates, complete with helicopters and a transport vessel for the surveillance force. They will patrol Lebanon’s coast until a German contingent can take over in line with Beirut’s request to the United Nations. The United Nations peacekeeping force, UNIFIL, says it has already established a naval operations centre and a team of security experts will start work in Lebanon today to assess what technical assistance can be provided.