A United Nations peacekeeping patrol in Lebanon came under attack recently in a Hezbollah ambush, Fox News reported on Wednesday, after obtaining a video of the incident.
The video shows the UNIFIL patrol stopped by a road block and their vehicles set upon by men with hammers and rocks, and one of the vehicles was set afire. Men carrying automatic weapons can be seen during the incident. No casualties were reported.
“This is clearly a Hezbollah-coordinated operation,” said Tony Badran, a research fellow at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, who has testified before Congress about the terror group: “Hezbollah’s freedom of maneuver in the south is absolute… which leaves UNIFIL in a sort of awkward situation where they not only can’t do anything but don’t want to do anything either for fear of the kind of incidents that we saw in the video.”
Fox said that an intelligence source confirmed that the Iranian proxy force was behind the attack.
A U.N. report on the inciden—in the village of Majdal Zun, five miles from the Israeli border—said it was precipated by the peacekeepers taking pictures.
Andrea Tenenti, a UNIFIL spokesman, said that a report by the Lebanese military given to the U.N., “diverged from the findings of UNIFIL which noted that organized civilians, some armed and illegally carrying assault weapons, were responsible for the violent attack on the peacekeepers.”
Tenenti said the military did not attribute responsibility for the attack, nor did it discuss what could be done about it.
“To date, no criminal proceedings have been launched against any of the attackers,” Tenenti said.
Two former UNIFIL peacekeepers described the severe limitations in which they work. The first, a French national who served two tours of duty with UNIFIL, told Fox that proper patrols were simply not possible under existing conditions.
“What can we say about UNIFIL’s attitude,” he said, “when decisions and orders are taken with the aim of avoiding issues with Hezbollah?” He said they are prohibited from routine activities such as patrolling and taking photos in Hezbollah villages.
The United Nations Security Council is expected to renew the yearly mandate of UNIFIL on Thursday.