German Navy starts patrolling Lebanese coast

16th October 2006, Comments 0 comments

16 October 2006, Beirut (dpa) - German Navy ships have begun their first patrols as part of the UN mission to patrol Lebanon's coastline and prevent arms smuggling to the militant Hezbollah movement. "The German Navy started Monday their official UN mission to patrol the coast of Lebanon in coordination with the Lebanese navy," a high-ranking Lebanese source told Deutsche Presse-Agentur dpa. "Our coast is now closely monitored by the German Navy," he added. Italy's Admiral Giuseppe De Giorgi handed over co

16 October 2006

Beirut (dpa) - German Navy ships have begun their first patrols as part of the UN mission to patrol Lebanon's coastline and prevent arms smuggling to the militant Hezbollah movement.

"The German Navy started Monday their official UN mission to patrol the coast of Lebanon in coordination with the Lebanese navy," a high-ranking Lebanese source told Deutsche Presse-Agentur dpa.

"Our coast is now closely monitored by the German Navy," he added.

Italy's Admiral Giuseppe De Giorgi handed over command of the naval force on Sunday to Germany's Admiral Andreas Krause during a ceremony aboard Italy's flagship Garibaldi in Beirut port.

The ceremony was held in the presence of United Nations Interim Forces in Lebanon (UNIFIL) commander Major General Alain Pellegrini who thanked the Italians for their mission which helped end an Israeli blockade on Lebanon's ports during Israel's 33-day offensive against Hezbollah.

Germany has agreed to send up to 2,400 military personnel to Lebanon in the country's first mission to the Middle East since World War II.

The head of the Lebanese navy, Brigadier General Hassan Mohsen, said there is "excellent cooperation between us and the German naval force."

The first naval force was made up of Italian, French, Greek and British ships which will now be replaced by a force from Bulgaria, Denmark, Germany, Greece, Norway, Sweden and Turkey.

According to UN sources, the previous naval force stopped over 1,000 vessels approaching Lebanese waters and several were handed over to the Lebanese authorities for not having the correct legal papers.

UNIFIL is enforcing a fragile ceasefire between Israel and Hezbollah. The July 12-August 14 war killed around 1,200 civilians in Lebanon and 162 Israelis. It was ignited when Hezbollah guerrillas kidnapped two Israeli soldiers.

DPA

Subject: German news

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