5 UN peacekeepers wounded in bombing in Lebanon

December 9, 2011 - 5:35 AM

BEIRUT (AP) — A roadside bombing in southern Lebanon on Friday wounded at least five U.N. peacekeepers, Lebanese military and security officials said.

A Lebanese security official said the bomb went off in the Bourj al-Shamali area near the port city of Tyre, damaging a vehicle that was carrying French troops serving with the U.N. peacekeeping force deployed near Lebanon's border with Israel.

The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity in line with regulations, said the wounded soldiers were rushed to a nearby hospital.

An official with the Lebanese Red Cross confirmed five peacekeepers were wounded, one of them seriously, as well as a Lebanese man who happened to be passing in the area.

There have been several attacks against U.N. peacekeepers in Lebanon in the past.

The deadliest assault on the U.N. peacekeeping force, known as UNIFIL, was in June 2007, when a bomb hit an armored personnel carrier near the Israeli border and killed six Spanish peacekeepers.

In July, a roadside bomb blew up next to a U.N. convoy carrying French peacekeepers in the south, wounding at least five peacekeepers. And last month, a bomb exploded at a hotel frequented by U.N. staffers, also in the south, causing damage but no casualties.

U.N. peacekeepers have been deployed in southern Lebanon since 1978 to monitor the border with Israel. The force was boosted to almost 12,000 troops after Israel and the Lebanese militant Hezbollah group fought a war in 2006.

Under the U.N. resolution that ended the fighting, the mission is monitoring a zone south of the Litani River where Hezbollah is banned from keeping weapons.

No group has claimed responsibility for any of the attacks.

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Bassem Mroue can be reached on http://twitter.com/bmroue