Lebanese residents injure UN peacekeeper and obstruct convoy twice

UNIFIL peacekeeper injured after being blocked in Lebanon
A UN peacekeeper in southern Lebanon was hurt when a group of young men attacked a patrol and tried to stop it from moving through their village, the UN mission said on Thursday. The incident took place on Wednesday night when residents of the village of Taybeh briefly blocked the peacekeepers’ patrol traveling through the area, the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) said in a statement. The man wounded was an Indonesian soldier, a security source said. A vehicle was damaged, UNIFIL said. It called on Lebanese authorities to investigate the attack and bring the perpetrators to justice. In a second incident on Thursday morning, a peacekeepers’ convoy traveling to UNIFIL’s eastern headquarters was briefly blocked by residents, who let them go ahead after a brief discussion, UNIFIL spokesperson Kandice Ardiel said. A Lebanese security source said a group of men had hit the UNIFIL vehicles with sticks and rocks. The reason for the actions was not clear but in previous incidents, local people have objected to UNIFIL peacekeepers driving military vehicles through residential areas. There was no comment from Hezbollah, the group backed by Iran which controls security in southern Lebanon. The area has been particularly tense since the outbreak of the Israel-Hamas war in the Gaza Strip. Hezbollah is close to Hamas and has been exchanging cross-border fire with Israel since the October 7 attack by Hamas on southern Israel that triggered the war. No peacekeepers have been killed since the escalation of hostilities. But two peacekeepers have been wounded in two separate incidents and UNIFIL compounds and bases have been hit and damaged by mortar fire several times. One Irish peacekeeper was killed in December 2022 when the UN vehicle he was driving in was fired on as it traveled through southern Lebanon. The mission currently has about 10,000 troops drawn from 47 countries, and about 800 civilian staff, stationed in 45 positions throughout a 1,060 square km (409 square mile) area between the Litani River and the Blue Line.