Italian peace force starts landing in Lebanon
Tyre (Lebanon), Sept 2: About 100 Italian troops landed in the south Lebanese port of Tyre today as the advance party of a 1,000-strong contingent to an expanded UN force recruited to keep the peace in south Lebanon.
The soldiers, wearing blue UN berets, came ashore in helicopters and rubber dinghies from the aircraft carrier Garibaldi, the flagship of the Italian fleet.
The rest of the 1,000 will dock today at a time that depends on sea conditions, said Lieutenant Colonel Scalisi Salvatore, a senior UN officer based in Beirut.
The Italians will make up the largest single contingent to the new force, known as UNIFIL II, which will deploy along the Israeli-Lebanese border after a one-month war between Israel and the Lebanese Shi'ite Muslim guerrilla movement Hizbollah.
A truce came into effect on Aug 14 and has held with few violations other than overflights by Israeli planes, defying widespread expectations of intermittent violence.