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Five UN peacekeepers injured in blast in Lebanon

A roadside bomb struck a UN vehicle in South Lebanon, injuring five peacekeepers.

Unifil peacekeepers lebanonEnlarge
UNIFIL peacekeepers stand at the border between Lebanon and Israel. Five peacekeepers were injured on Friday when a roadside bomb detonated beside their van. (AFP/AFP/Getty Images)

Five UN peacekeepers and one civilian were injured in Southern Lebanon when a roadside bomb detonated beside their van, AFP reported

The peacekeepers were patrolling near the Mediterranean port city of Tyre, and were treated at the scene before being evacuated to receive further medical care. It was unclear how badly injured the Lebanese civilian was. The peacekeepers were all French, AFP reported. 

The attack appeared to be targeted towards the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) soldiers, who patrol Lebanon's border with Israel. The bomb was hidden under dirt on the side of the road, and was detonated as the peacekeepers were driving by in a Jeep in the eastern part of the southern town, an official who wished to remain anonymous told the AFP. 

Major-General Albert Asarta Cuevas, the mission's commander, strongly condemned the attack, the UN's News Center reported.

“This vile and despicable act not only aims to cause harm to the peacekeepers, but also to undermine the stability and peace that have been prevailing in the south,” he said.

Major-General Asarta Cuevas said the attack would not deter UNIFIL from carrying out its mandate and stressed it was vital that the perpetrators are identified and brought to justice.

This is the third attack on UN peacekeepers in the region — UNIFIL convoys were also targeted with roadside bombs in May and July of this year. 

More from GlobalPostUN convoy in Lebanon hit by bomb

The mission has been in effect since Israel invaded Lebanon in 1978, and has over 12,000 peacekeepers from 35 countries deployed in Lebanon, according to the UN. 

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/middle-east/lebanon/111209/five-un-peacekeepers-injured-blast-lebanon