The UN peacekeeping force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) denounced an attack on its troops Wednesday after videos surfaced of local residents in southern Lebanon stomping on a UN vehicle and pelting it with stones.
Lebanese media reported that residents grew angry with the peacekeepers after claiming the troops were taking pictures in certain areas.
But UNIFIL criticized the denial of freedom of movement.
Videos showed residents hurling cinder blocks at a UNIFIL vehicle with others standing on top of it as it was boxed in between scores of people.
“The denial of UNIFIL’s freedom of movement and any aggression against those serving the cause of peace is unacceptable and violates the Status of Forces Agreement signed by Lebanon,” a statement from the peacekeeping force said.
Wednesday’s violence came less than 24 hours after UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres visited UNIFIL in the country’s south.
“As the UN Secretary-General noted yesterday, UNIFIL must have full and unimpeded access throughout its area of operations, as agreed with the Lebanese Government and required under Security Council Resolution 1701,” UNIFIL said.
It called on the Lebanese government to investigate the violence on Wednesday and “bring the perpetrators to justice.”
UNIFIL has been present in the area since the late 70s as per a Security Council resolution to confirm the withdrawal of Israeli forces, restore international peace and security and assist the Lebanese government in ensuring the return of its authority in its lands.
But Iran-backed Hezbollah and supporters of its ally, Amal Movement, have repeatedly attacked UNIFIL troops on multiple occasions.
No political party of side claimed responsibility for Wednesday’s violence, and no statement was released by the Lebanese government.
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