Hizbollah attack on UN observers

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The Independent Online

Three unarmed United Nations observers and two armed peace-keepers were hurt in scuffles with Hizbollah forces in southern Lebanon yesterday, the UN peace-keeping force commander said.

General Lalit Tewari, of India, said Lebanese authorities had voiced concern over the fight and that Hizbollah had assured the UN that the incident will not be repeated.

The scuffle broke out after a UN observer patrol reached the village of Mari, near the site of clashes on Wednesday between Hizbollah forces and Israeli troops in the disputed Shebaa Farms area near the Lebanese-Israeli border.

The observers – from Ireland, Norway and France – were confronted by about 10 Hizbollah gunmen who would not let them pass. An argument broke out and the gunmen attacked. A separate UN peace-keeping patrol manned by armed Indian officers was near by and intervened.

In Lebanon, Staffan de Mistura, the representative of the UN secretary general, Kofi Annan, met the Prime Minister, Rafiq Hariri, yesterday to discuss rising tensions in the country's south. (AP)