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Irish peacekeeping troops on parade in lebanon. Irish Defence Forces

Ireland to increase number of peacekeepers deployed to south Lebanon to beef up security

South Lebanon has been scene to daily strikes by Israeli forces as they trade rocket salvos and shots with Hezbollah fighters in the area.

THE DEFENCE FORCES will see the number of troops it has deployed to south Lebanon increase by 33.

Tanáiste Micheál Martin, who is Minister for Defence and Foreign Affairs, will today brief Cabinet on the move to increase the troops deployed to the UNIFIL peacekeeping mission.

Sources say the plan aims to ensure the safety of convoys and to assist in “force protection”, which is a dedicated team that keeps soldiers safe. 

South Lebanon has been the scene of daily strikes by Israeli forces, who have traded rocket salvos and shots with Hezbollah fighters in the area.  

Today’s Cabinet meeting will see Ministers asked to extend the mission for another year, from 30 May. It is anticipated that the UNIFIL mission will be renewed at the end of August. 

Martin will also ask for additional personnel which will, according to sources, “enhance the overall security of the Irish battalion amid the heightened threat level currently in place across the region”.

The duties of the extra soldiers will include force protection duties, as well as increased convoy security.

UNIFIL is Ireland’s largest overseas deployment as part of a joint Irish and Polish Battalion, including a contingent from Hungary and Malta.

53308670371_0560fc5feb_o Irish troops search for mines and improvised explosive devices in Lebanon. Irish Defence Forces Irish Defence Forces

Ireland acts as lead nation providing the commanding officer and the larger troop and logistics contribution, which is currently made up of around 350 personnel from the 123rd Infantry Battalion, in addition to nine personnel at UNIFIL HQ in Naqoura and four personnel in UNIFIL Sector West Headquarters in Shama.

The 123rd Infantry Battalion will conclude their six-month deployment in May to be replaced by the 124th Infantry Battalion.

The Irish Battalion is based in Sector West of UNIFIL’s area of operations, with its primary base at Bint Jbeil in the vicinity of At Tiri.

An Irish team based on the two forward observation posts manned by the contingent are located on the ‘Blue Line’, which separates Lebanon and Israel.

The additional platoon will comprise of 33 Defence Force personnel of all ranks and would join the 124th Infantry Battalion in July.

With reporting from Christina Finn.


Need more clarity and context on what is happening in the Middle East? Check out our new FactCheck Knowledge Bank for essential reads and guides to finding good information online.

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