UN peacekeepers vow to stay in Lebanon
An attack that killed six prompts Lebanon's government to appeal for outside help.
The UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) said that it was committed to staying in the country following a bombing on Sunday that left six UN peacekeepers dead and raised concerns that violence may spread in the embattled country.
The vehicle-borne explosive targeted a Spanish battalion, killing three Spaniards and three Colombians. It is the first time UNIFIL has been attacked since the 34-day war between Israel and Hizbullah militants last summer.
Reuters reports that the bombing has created yet another challenge for the Western-backed government in Beirut. UNIFIL officials view the attack as an act "against stability."
"It's not an attack against Lebanon and UNIFIL only, but against the stability of the region. This attack has made UNIFIL more committed to fulfil its mission in southern Lebanon," Major-General Claudio Graziano, who commands the 13,000-strong U.N. Interim Force in Lebanon, said in a statement.
The bombing took place in the south, a Hizbullah stronghold. The Islamic party has denied any connection to the operation and condemned those who carried out the attack, reports Lebanon's The Daily Star.
"Hizbullah vigorously condemns the attack [and] considers it a suspicious act which hurts Lebanon and its inhabitants," the group's Al-Manar television reported. "The attack hurts the people of the South and of Lebanon," the statement added.
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