Syria possibly behind Lebanon bombing: France's Juppe

11th December 2011, Comments 0 comments

Syria was probably behind a bombing that wounded five French UN peacekeepers in southern Lebanon, French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe said on Sunday, adding that he had no proof so far.

"We have strong reasons to think that this attack came from there," he told the TV5 Monde television channel and Le Monde newspaper, stressing that Damascus used the Lebanese Hezbollah for such attacks in the past.

"I don't have proof," he stressed, while adding that the group was Syria's armed wing."

The five French members of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) were wounded Friday when a bomb targeted their patrol on the outskirts of the coastal city of Tyre. Two passers-by were also wounded.

No group has claimed responsibility for the attack, the third this year on UNIFIL soldiers.

Friday's blast took place amid heightened tension over a growing revolt in Syria, with politicians and diplomats warning the unrest could spill into Lebanon, whose government is dominated by the pro-Syrian militant group Hezbollah.

The UNIFIL force stationed in the south of the country is considered an easy target if unrest does spread to Lebanon.

Juppe said: "We have again asked the Lebanese government to protect UNIFIL."

Spain currently commands the 12,100-strong UNIFIL force, which was founded in 1978 and expanded after the 2006 war between Israel and Hezbollah.

France has one of the largest contingents with 1,300 soldiers.

© 2011 AFP

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