Three hundred Irish troops flew into Beirut on Wednesday (23 April) to relieve part of Ireland's 700-man contingent in UNIFIL, the United Nations' Southern Lebanon peace-keeping force.
GV Plane arrives and Irish troops on tarmac (2 shots)
SV Troops disembarking (3 shots)
GV Troops walking across tarmac (2 shots)
GV Hercules transport plane PAN TO troops on tarmac
SV & GV Troops with UNIFIL bags (2 shots)
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Background: Three hundred Irish troops flew into Beirut on Wednesday (23 April) to relieve part of Ireland's 700-man contingent in UNIFIL, the United Nations' Southern Lebanon peace-keeping force. Fijian and Ghanaian forces have reinforced Irish troops in the U.N. zone since gunmen killed two Irish soldiers last week. Both the Irish government and the United Nations have blamed Major Saad Haddad's rightist milit??? for the killings.
SYNOPSIS: The latest contingent of Irish troops arrived on schedule to replace 250 soldiers due to fly home as part of a routine six-monthly troop rotation. A year ago, during a similar troop rotation, 400 Israeli troops, backed by rightist militia, temporarily occupied a village in the Irish sector of the United Nations zone. After the latest incident, the Irish Prime Minister, Charles Haughey, asked U.S. President Carter to put pressure on Israel to end its support for the militia. Israel has condemned the killings but has defended its support for Major Haddad.
The rest of the Irish force is to be replace next month (May). In the meantime, the Fijian and Ghanaian troops are providing reinforcements to maintain strength in the sector. The new Irish command is already in position at battalion headquarters in the hilltop town of Tibnin.
At the same time, a United Nations spokesman said four units of Irish troops have been pulled out of positions bordering Major Haddad's enclave in an effort to reduce tension, but it's been stressed there are no plans to change the number of Irish troops on duty in Lebanon.