Lacroix tours UNIFIL posts with top force commander Maj. Gen. Michael Beary.
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The top U.N. peacekeeper staunchly defended UNIFIL Saturday, shortly after the international force's effectiveness came under renewed questioning.Lacroix was on his first visit to U.N. forces in the region since taking up his position in April last year.Andrea Tenenti, the UNIFIL spokesperson, told The Daily Star that out of some 450 patrols per day, about 40 percent were conducted at night – casting doubt on the French officer's claims.The Lebanese Army declined to comment on the report, but has been beefing up its presence in UNIFIL's area of operations. In September 2017, the Army's 5th Intervention Regiment deployed to the south, joining the 7th and 5th brigades.While overall patrols are up from about 400 to 450, a 12 percent increase, foot patrols have risen 64 percent since August 2017, he said.He also said the force is now conducting nighttime helicopter patrols. Easing tensions, Lacroix said, was at the heart of UNIFIL's mission.Israel is building a wall along the Blue Line that demarcates the line of its withdrawal from south Lebanon in 2000 .
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