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Lebanese Army, UNIFIL hold live fire exercise
U.N. Interim Forces in Lebanon Commander Maj. Gen. Paolo Serra is seen    at the UNIFIL ceremony honoring Slovenian and Italian soldiers  in  Tyre,   south Lebanon on Saturday, March 14, 2012. (The Daily  Star/Mohammed   Zaatari)
U.N. Interim Forces in Lebanon Commander Maj. Gen. Paolo Serra is seen at the UNIFIL ceremony honoring Slovenian and Italian soldiers in Tyre, south Lebanon on Saturday, March 14, 2012. (The Daily Star/Mohammed Zaatari)
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NAQOURA, South Lebanon: The United Nations peacekeeping force and Lebanese Armed Forces conducted a live fire exercise in southern Lebanon Wednesday near the Blue Line with Israel, a press release from the U.N. said.

The United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon worked on the drills to increase coordination between the peacekeepers and the LAF and to generally increase cooperation between officers in both forces.

The training took place a kilometer south of the UNIFIL headquarters in Naqoura and was the first to include rifle fire from armored vehicles.

UNIFIL Force Commander Major-General Paolo Serra heralded the exercises as important to work toward the recommendations made by the U.N. to change the peacekeepers’ operations.

“This exercise provides an opportunity to expand coordination and cooperation between UNIFIL and LAF in line with Strategic Review priorities and recommendations,” Serra said.

UNIFIL’s mandate was recently extended by the Security Council after a request from the Lebanese government. The extension allows the organization to operate under UNSC 1701 until August 2013.

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on September 06, 2012, on page 4.
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