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Blast Wounds 6 Italian UN Peacekeepers in Lebanon

VOA News May 27, 2011

Security officials in Lebanon say an explosion hit a United Nations vehicle in the southern part of the country Friday, wounding six Italian U.N. peacekeepers.

Officials said the blast apparently targeted the U.N. convoy as it was moving near the city of Sidon. The Italian government confirmed the casualties and retracted an initial report that one of the men had died.

No one has claimed responsibility for the incident.

The explosion happened on the U.N.'s International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers, a day where peacekeepers commemorate their colleagues killed at U.N. missions around the world.

A U.N. peacekeeping force of about 12,000 soldiers and 1,000 civilians is deployed in southern Lebanon to monitor the border with Israel following the 2006 Israel-Hezbollah war. There are about 120,000 peacekeepers worldwide from 115 countries.

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

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