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Defence Force troops ready for Lebanon mission

The Irish Defence Forces is to deploy a further 440 troops to Lebanon next month to take over duties from the 104th Battalion, which has been serving since June.

A member of the 105th Battalion preparing for deployment to Lebanon in November.
A member of the 105th Battalion preparing for deployment to Lebanon in November.
Image: Photocall Ireland

ANOTHER 440 IRISH Defence Force troops are undergoing final preparations for deployment to Lebanon.

The members of the 105th Battalion will take over duties currently being carried out by the 104th Battalion, which has been serving in Lebanon as part of the UN-backed operation since June.

The changeover will occur in early November.

Yesterday, the troops were being put through the final phase of intense training by their commander Lieutenant Colonel Philip Brennan, said the Defence Forces.

The men and women getting ready for deployment are primarily from the 1st Southern Brigade (Munster area). They have been in training for the past three months, culminating in a Mission Readiness Exercise in the Glen of Imaal over the past two weeks.

This exercise puts commanders and soldiers through a demanding series of scenarios based on the current situation in Lebanon and potential threats that may be encountered in the mission area.

Of the 440 travelling troops, 116 personnel are on their first tour of duty abroad.

Irish officers were first deployed to Lebanon as observers in 1958. However, in 1978, the first Irish Battalion departed for the Middle East as part of the United Nations Interim Force (UNIFIL). Since then, 47 Irish troops have lose their lives while peacekeeping.

Earlier this month, President Mary McAleese met with the Irish peacekeeping troops at Camp Shamrock in Lebanon.

Read: McAleese to meet Irish troops in Lebanon on final official trip>

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