source: UNIFIL

Blue Helmets’ prompt response in mission in Lebanon, in coordination with LAF, following some controlled explosions on the Blue Line.

Constant support to local population from UNIFIL soldiers

After some controlled explosions that took place on the Blue Line over the last two weeks, in the area of responsibility of Ghanaian monouvre task force (GHANBATT), Joint Task Force Lebanon (JTF-L) deployed some Italian-Croatian joint Mine Detection Dog (MDD) - Explosive Detection Dog (EDD) and Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) – Improvised Explosive Device Disposal (IEDD) teams, in order to examine the areas of craters of the explosions. Within a framework of security, the teams with mine sniffer-dogs (MDD) and anti-explosive dogs (EDD), together with Croatian EOD-IEDD assets:

  • evaluated the impact of detonations and security of the areas nearby Ramyah and Ayta Ash Sha'b;

  • verified the condition in the area, in terms of damage caused by explosion;

  • checked for possible presence of Unexploded Ordnance (UXO) and mine.

The operation was necessary because explosive devices, laid along the Blue Line in the '80s, subject of action of natural factors, like erosion, bad weather and landslides, may have incurred, with the explosion, a movement with respect of the record document delivered by the Israelis to the Mission Command, in order to facilitate the clean-up. The immediate action of Italian-Croatian teams, together with an UNIFIL technical unit, stepped in to evaluate a possible violation of UN resolution 1701/2006, helped to ensure a prompt response of Sector West in support of local population, by favoring a rapid normalization of the current situation in the areas concerned.

In this regard, Brigadier General Diodato Abagnara, Joint Task Force Lebanon Commander, expressed his and contingent sympathy, in a meeting with local authorities, to population and guaranteed constant support through specialized units, in close coordination with LAF.

Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) have launched operation "Northern Shield" since 4 December 2018, along the cease-fire line called Blue Line. The Israeli action, conducted in their territory as an engineer work, aims to close and if necessary destroy underground tunnel that would allow the passage from Lebanon to Israel. The operation follows operation "Southern Shield", carried out on the border with the Gaza Strip with the same purpose.

In order to monitor IDF and LAF activity along the BL, Sector West Joint Task Force Lebanon (JFT-L), at the behest of UNIFIL Mission Command, has tasked its subordinate units (ITALBATT, GHANBATT and IRISHBATT), to report non-ordinary activities of IDF engineer works and of LAF, with the aim of consolidating the role of impartial interposition between the parties.