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Dublin: 15 °C Monday 19 August, 2019
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Two hundred Irish troops heading for Lebanon in the morning

The soldiers will leave Dublin Airport at 2.30am to join the rest of the 104th Battalion on a peacekeeping mission. The youngest is 20-years-old.

Irish Army soldiers train at the Glen of Imaal in Wicklow for their deployment to Lebanon
Irish Army soldiers train at the Glen of Imaal in Wicklow for their deployment to Lebanon
Image: Photocall Ireland

THE REMAINDER OF the members of the 104th Battalion will leave Dublin Airport for Lebanon in the early hours of tomorrow morning.

The 200 troops will join 240 personnel already in the country on peacekeeping duties. An advance team was deployed at the end of May to establish an Irish military HQ in the southern city of Tebnin. A large group of troops left last week and now this second contingent will join them.

The Irish area of operations covers 140 square kilometres extending from Tibnin in South Lebanon to the Blue line along the border with Israel. The Irish forces base camp is in Tibnin, with two smaller posts along the Blue line.

The Belfast Telegraph reports that the youngest member of the Battalion is 20-year-old Emma Furlong, who grew up at the army base in the Curragh.

The operation is part of the UNIFIL mission, which is the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon. UNIFIL was created by the UN Security Council in 1978 to confirm Israeli withdrawal from Lebanon. The Irish troops will be concerned with monitoring the cessation of hostilities, assisting the Lebanese Armed Forces and making sure humanitarian aid reaches civilians.

The current UNIFIL force is made up of 12,000 personnel from 31 nations. Irish officers have been involved in Lebanon since 1958, while the first Irish Battalion went to the country in 1978.

Forty-seven Irish troops have lost their lives on peacekeeping missions in Lebanon since 1978.

Read more: Defence Forces advance personnel deployed to Lebanon>

Read more in the Belfast Telegraph: 200 more peace troops for Lebanon>

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Emer McLysaght

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