Lebanon: Heavy exchanges of fire continue

A general view of a demolished area in the south of the Lebanese capital of Beirut, 23 July 2006. Israeli air strikes have destroyed much of the Lebanese infrastructure and transport network. (MaanImages/Raoul Kramer)

Naqoura - Heavy exchanges of fire continued with the same intensity along the length of the Blue Line in the last 24 hours. Hezbollah fired rockets from various locations, and the IDF continued the shelling and aerial bombardment. The IDF is still present on the ground inside Lebanese territory in the area of Marun Al Ras in the central sector, including inside the village itself. There were reports of limited reinforcements in their presence yesterday afternoon, and exchange of fire was reported in that area today.

There were seven incidents of firing close to UN positions from the Israeli side during the past 24 hours, mainly due to aerial bombardment in the area of the patrol base of the Observer Group Lebanon in Khiam. All UNIFIL positions in the area of operation remain permanently occupied and maintained by the troops. Yesterday, UNIFIL re-supplied a number of UN forward positions close to the Blue Line, including two positions in the Marun Al Ras area. Additional re-supply convoys are planned for today.

UNIFIL provided escort to 150 members of the Lebanese Joint Security Forces and to a number of civilians from Bint Jubayl to Tibnin. It also relocated a number of foreign nationals from the border areas to Tyre. One civilian patient was evacuated from the UNIFIL hospital in Naqoura. Sixty-nine civilians (women and children, and four elderly men) from the area of Kafr Dunin took shelter inside a Ghanaian battalion position following the aerial bombardment. UNIFIL also distributed humanitarian aid to the civilian population in the area of Naqoura. Some humanitarian convoys are planned for today, but the ability to move will depend on the situation on the ground.

There are continued reports of local civilian population leaving their villages and towns in numbers, especially in the central sector from the villages of Mays al Jabal, Kafr Kila, Markaba, Hula and Bint Jubayl. Movement of civilians from these areas continued today, despite of increasing destruction and obstacles on the roads.

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UNIFIL is the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon