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UN: 6 Peacekeepers Killed in Bomb Blast in Southern Lebanon

24 June 2007

The United Nations mission in Lebanon says six U.N. peacekeepers have been killed and two wounded in an apparent car bomb blast in the southern part of the country.

The Spanish Defense Ministry said three Spanish peacekeepers and three Colombians were killed.

It was the first fatal attack on the U.N. Interim Force in Lebanon since it was reinforced last year after the war between Israel and the Lebanese-based Shi'ite militant group Hezbollah.

The 13,000 - strong U.N. force in southern Lebanon, known as UNIFIL, patrols the Lebanese-Israeli border area.

Lebanese President Emile Lahoud denounced the bomb attack as an attempt to destabilize the country. Hezbollah also condemned the attack.

In Paris, U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner also denounced the blast.

In other news, officials say at least 10 people were killed in fighting between government troops and Islamic extremists in the northern Lebanese port city of Tripoli.

The fighting was the first in the city of Tripoli following a siege that began in late May at the nearby Nahr al-Bared Palestinian refugee camp.

Last week, Lebanese officials declared an end to major combat at the camp. A Palestinian mediator said Fatah al-Islam also declared a ceasefire and welcomed an end to the fighting.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.

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