UNIFIL Troops Will Remain in South Lebanon

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NEW YORK - In a unanimous decision, the United Nations Security Council extended the mandate for UNIFIL (U.N. Peacekeeping forces) in southern Lebanon for another year.

Following the Second Lebanon War between Israel and Hezbollah in the summer of 2006, U.N. Resolution 1701 called for the deployment of UNIFIL troops south of the Litani River.

On Thursday, Israeli Ambassador to the U.N. Gabriela Shalev warned of Hezbollah's ongoing activities in southern Lebanon.

Shalev cited the explosion of a Hezbollah weapons warehouse last month in an abandoned building in a south Lebanese village.

"[The explosions] shed light on a dangerous phenomenon that Israel has been warning about," Shalev said.

"A terrorist organization, Hezbollah, continues to deploy its assets and operates actively both north and south of the Litani River," she said.

"Such increased efforts should help ensure that the area between the Blue Line and the Litani River is, and I quote from Resolution 1701, an "area free of any armed personnel, assets and weapons, other than those of the government of Lebanon and of UNIFIL."

Earlier this week, Lebanese Prime Minister-designate Sa'ad Hariri announced that Hezbollah would be part of the Lebanese government "whether Israel likes it or not."

Hariri was responding to Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, who warned that if Hezbollah officially joined the Lebanese government, Israel would hold Lebanon responsible for any aggressive acts by the terror group.

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