Lebanon detains group for trying to bomb UN troops

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BEIRUT, Oct 15 (Reuters) The Lebanese army said today it had detained members of a ''terrorist network'' who had tried to bomb UN peacekeepers in south Lebanon.

The group, which included foreigners, had been monitoring the UN force known as UNIFIL and planned a bomb attack on a peacekeepers' convoy near the southern city of Tyre. But the bomb failed to detonate, an army statement said.

The army did not say how many individuals had been detained, when the arrests were made or name the ''terrorist network''.

''Its members had planned to plant two explosive devices and detonate them with a time difference in the same place with the aim of inflicting the greatest number of casualties possible,'' the statement said.

Six members of UNIFIL's Spanish battalion were killed by a car bomb in south Lebanon in June. Nobody has been charged with that attack. The Spanish government has said it suspects al Qaeda-inspired Islamist militants were behind the bombing.

Six Palestinians were charged in September with involvement in another attack which slightly damaged a UN peacekeeping vehicle in July.

UNIFIL expanded last year as part of a UN Security Council resolution that halted a war between Hezbollah guerrillas and Israel. The force now comprises nearly 13,500 personnel.

The Lebanese army fought a bloody 15-week battle with al Qaeda-linked militants holed up in a Palestinian refugee camp in north Lebanon this year. The army says it killed 222 militants in the battle with Fatah al-Islam, which ended in September.

Fatah al-Islam included fighters from across the Arab world.

REUTERS SKB HT1924

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