French peacekeeper dies in Lebanon accident

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BEIRUT, Nov 12 (Reuters) A French peacekeeper was killed and another wounded in a shooting accident in south Lebanon today, the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) said.

UNIFIL spokeswoman Yasmina Bouziane said in a statement the two soldiers suffered gunshot injuries in an ''accidental discharge of a weapon'' at a peacekeeping base. One soldier died as he was being evacuated by helicopter to a hospital in the port city of Sidon.

Bouziane said the second soldier suffered moderate wounds and was in stable condition. The incident was under investigation, she added.

UNIFIL was expanded after last year's war between Israel and Hezbollah. Some 13,500 peacekeepers from 27 countries patrol south Lebanon and include a naval force that patrols the Lebanese coast.

The latest death brought to 268 the number of fatalities suffered by UNIFIL since the force first deployed in south Lebanon in 1978.

REUTERS PJ RAI2253

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