Tuesday Jul 26, 201108:54 PM GMT
Lebanon blast injures 5 French troops
Tue Jul 26, 2011 3:52PM
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A French UNIFIL troop who was injured in an explosion in southern Lebanon is being wheeled by medics at the site of the blast, July 26, 2011.
A bomb blast in the southern Lebanese city of Sidon has wounded five French troops serving with the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL).

The explosion took place on Tuesday as the French soldiers were in a vehicle travelling along a coastal road near the southern entrance of the city, Lebanese security officials said.

"According to preliminary reports, at around 6:00 pm today (1500 GMT) an explosion targeted a UNIFIL convoy along the highway at Sidon," said Neeraj Singh, the spokesman for the UN peacekeeping force.

Three of the wounded soldiers were relocated to hospital for treatment, with one of them in a critical condition, AFP reported.

According to a military spokesman, the bomb, which had been planted on the side of the road, was triggered as the UNIFIL convoy arrived at the southern entrance of Sidon.

"We are working in coordination with the Lebanese army to determine the circumstances of the incident," Singh further explained.

In a similar roadside bombing in May, six Italian troops of the UNIFIL were injured in Sidon.

The UNIFIL was set up in 1978 to monitor the southern Lebanese border and was given a wider role after Israel waged a war against Lebanon in 2006. Around 1,200 Lebanese nationals, mostly civilians, lost their lives in the conflict.

In August 2010, the UN Security Council decided to extend the mandate of the UNIFIL in southern Lebanon. The current mandate expires on August 31.

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