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Lebanon: UN force's aid work hampered as Israel denies consent for convoy to move

9 August 2006 As high intensity exchanges between Hizbollah and the Israeli Defences Force (IDF) continued today, the United Nations Interim Force Lebanon (UNFIL) said it has been unable to distribute food and undertake other emergency work in its western area of operations for the past three days because Israel has denied consent.

But UNFIL did provide a limited supply of fuel for water pumping in the village of Rmeich today, according to an update released in Naqoura.

Among other incidents, two artillery rounds from the Israeli side hit directly inside a UNIFIL position in the area of At Tiri yesterday evening, causing extensive material damage, but no casualties, while Hizbollah fired rockets from the vicinity of UN positions in At Tiri and also Tibnin. UNIFIL “strongly protested all the incidents” to the Lebanese and Israeli authorities respectively.

Almost 20 UN positions, including the UNIFIL headquarters in Naqoura, are currently in areas where the IDF operates inside Lebanese territory. Their resupply has been affected by intensive shelling and ground exchanges in the area. In particular, UNIFIL forward positions in the eastern sector are facing critical shortages of fuel, and the ability to re-supply them in the next 48 hours is vital to maintaining these positions.

The update said “a humanitarian convoy to distribute food in the villages in the western sector, and other humanitarian activities planned by UNIFIL, could not proceed for the last three days due to the denial of consent by the IDF.”

“Around 175 Lebanese civilians remain stranded in the Hula village, and the efforts to relocate them by the Red Cross are still ongoing.”

UNIFIL also said the IDF had not responded to repeated requests to reopen the road between Tyre and Beirut by putting up another provisional bridge over the Litani River, but confirmed that “any movement of vehicles south of the Litani River is prohibited, with the exception of UNIFIL and Red Cross vehicles. The IDF may target all other vehicles.”



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