Defense Minister: Lebanese Army to Deploy Near Israeli Border This Week

Published August 14, 2006

| Associated Press

The Lebanese army will deploy 15,000 soldiers on the north side of the Litani River before the end of this week, Defense Minister Elias Murr said Monday.

The U.N. Security Council resolution that set in motion a cease-fire between Israel and Hezbollah also called for a joint Lebanese-international force to move south of the Litani, about 18 miles from the Israeli border, to stand as a buffer between the antagonists.

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"In principle, before the end of this week, 15,000 soldiers will deploy on the boundaries of the Litani river," Murr told the Lebanese Broadcasting Corp. He did not say when the troops would move south of the river.

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Murr said the current U.N. peacekeeping force of 2,000 soldiers would assume positions vacated by Israel before handing them over to the Lebanese army.

Murr said he expected international troops to begin arriving within the next 10 days.

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