In southern Lebanon, United Nations troops have been moving in to take up position in the Israeli-captured region south of the Litani River.
In southern Lebanon, United Nations troops have been moving in to take up position in the Israeli-captured region south of the Litani River. A force of 4-thousand U.N. troops has been detailed to move into the troubled area stretching between the Israeli border and the river, a distance of about 15 miles (24 kilometres). The early U.N. arrivals were made up of French, Swedish and Iranian contingents.
SYNOPSIS: The French force were spearheaded by a group of 140 paratroopers who wound their way down to the port of Tyre, the last Palestinian stronghold to come under Israeli attack before the ceasefire was announced last Tuesday (21 March). On arrival there, it was decided they would take over the barracks formerly used by the Palestinians. The arrival was closely watched by Lebanese soldiers, who had remained on in the area.
The U.N. troops' task of keeping the peace in southern Lebanon is apparently not going to be a mere formality. Palestinian commandos have made it clear that they are not going to take any notice of the ceasefire, and are going to continue in their efforts to hit Israeli positions in the occupied areas. The Palestinian Liberation Organisation's news agency, WAFA, reported that commando operations behind the Israeli lines were escalating. One Palestinian group has already warned the U.N. commanders that they will not tolerate any involvement in what it termed the "imperialist-Zionist plan". But the United Nations peace-keeping force is now settling into the area for what could be a prolonged stay.
There has been some heated resistance to the U.N. involvement from the Lebanese military leaders as well. To try to overcome this, a French envoy Alain Egriterieux met with militant Falangist commander, Major Saad Haddad in the town of Metula. The result of the meeting was kept secret.