Turkey condemns attack on UNIFIL in Lebanon

May 31, 2011, Tuesday/ 00:40:00/ TODAYSZAMAN.COM

Turkey has condemned an attack on what it called the stability of Lebanon as a roadside bomb destroyed a vehicle belonging to Italian peacekeepers in the Arab country, terming the aggression “unacceptable.”

The Turkish Foreign Ministry said in a statement released on Monday that it strongly condemns the attack on UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL), which it said had fulfilled its mission so far with great success and devotion and played a fundamental role in maintaining peace, security and stability in Lebanon and beyond.

A roadside bomb ripped through a UN convoy carrying Italian peacekeepers in southern Lebanon on Friday, wounding six of them in the first such attack since 2008. The explosion struck as the peacekeepers' vehicles traveled south on the main highway in Sidon, leaving a crater in the road and scattered debris from the charred UN vehicles.

“This heinous attack, which targets UNIFIL along with Lebanese stability, is unacceptable,” the statement reads.

The peacekeeping force is deployed in southern Lebanon to monitor the border with Israel. There are nearly 1,800 Italian soldiers, including a naval component, in the UNIFIL mission.

The last bomb attack on peacekeepers was in January 2008, when a roadside bomb struck a UN vehicle traveling along the coastal highway south of Beirut, lightly wounding two peacekeepers.

The deadliest attack was in June 2007, when a bomb hit an armored personnel carrier near the Israeli border and killed six Spanish peacekeepers.

The statement stressed that Turkey is determined to continue to contribute to efforts to protect peace and stability in Lebanon with its other international partners within UNIFIL.

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