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Defence Forces Press Office

Irish troops prepare for Lebanon mission

Irish soldiers are undergoing the final phases of an intensive training exercise in preparation for their deployment to Lebanon.

ANOTHER 332 IRISH Defence Forces troops are preparing to deploy to Lebanon in November as part of a peacekeeping contingent, taking over duties from the 106th Battalion who have been serving with the United Nations Interim Force since May.

The exercises that the commanders and soldiers are going through are based on the current situation in Lebanon and potential threats that they might encounter. The scenarios they face include explosive strikes, air mobile helicopter drills, anti ambush tactics, detailed planning and traditional peacekeeping methods.

Deputy Chief of Staff, Major General Ralph James was impressed with the exercises he witnessed today:

I’m impressed by the standard of training and I know that this unit will continue the long and proud tradition of Irish soldiers putting themselves in harms way for peace and security overseas.

The 107th Battalion will be stationed in ‘Camp Shamrock’, around 7 km from the blue line boundary between Lebanon and Israel, south of the village At Tiri. The new location offers more force protection, general security and provides greater support to the smaller UN posts.

Lieutenant Colonel Dave Dignam, a native of Dublin currently based in Donegal, has full confidence in commanding this group of soldiers:

We have a tough six months of duty ahead of us, including Christmas away from home, but I have full confidence in my multinational team to get the job done.

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 UNIFIL. Since then, 86 Irish troops have lost their lives while peacekeeping.

(Credit: Defence Forces Press Office/)

Read: Fallen Irish peacekeepers commemorated >

Read: In pictures: Irish troops arrive home to smiles and smooches >

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