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Monday, 7 August, 2000, 11:02 GMT 12:02 UK
Trouble flares on Lebanon border
UN soldiers at the Israel-Lebanon border
Finnish peacekeepers take up position on the border
At least four people have been wounded by Israeli troops on the Lebanon border as United Nations observers complete their deployment.

The four, including a 10-year-old child and two journalists, were wounded when Israeli troops fired what they described as warning shots to disperse protesters.

An Israeli military spokesman said the troops opened fire after coming under attack with rocks, bottles, and burning rags.

The boy was hit in the foot by shrapnel and had two toes amputated.

Since Israel ended its occupation of south Lebanon in May, people from across the country have almost made a pilgrimage of the trip to the Israeli border fence to throw stones.

Israel has repeatedly called on the Lebanese Government to control the crowds.

Border sign
The border has seen continuing tensions despite the withdrawal
A number of farm workers and Israeli soldiers have been wounded in the attacks and the Israeli army has said it is losing patience, but Lebanon has so far refused to act.

Just hours before this latest incident, United Nations peace keepers in Lebanon began deploying down to the border, but they pointedly stayed away from the single border gate where most of the stone throwing takes place.

The Lebanese Government now says it will deploy its own troops to the border in coming days, but our correspondent Christopher Hack says that given its tacit support for the demonstrations, few expect an end to these potentially explosive confrontations.

Over the weekend, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak welcomed the UN deployment, saying in a statement that he hoped it would stabilise the area and "ensure that peace and quiet is maintained along the northern border".

taking up position
Indian peacekeepers take up their positions at Abbassiyeh
The UN troops will expand six existing bases and open new posts along the border, with the aim of preventing anyone crossing from either side.

The deployment is expected to take a month, because of the need to clear Israeli mines - a job which a battalion of Ukrainian troops has already begun.

On Friday, Lebanese Prime Minister Selim al-Hoss said Unifil could move into the area after his government had checked that Israel had fully withdrawn from Lebanese soil.

Lebanese and UN experts took several weeks to verify the "blue line" - the line of withdrawal - during which they found a number of small Israeli violations.

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See also:

29 Jul 00 | Middle East
UN gets Lebanese go-ahead to deploy
25 Jul 00 | Middle East
Lebanon blocks UN border deployment
25 Jul 00 | Middle East
UN troops to deploy on border
27 Jun 00 | Middle East
New UN troops arrive in Lebanon
27 Jun 00 | Middle East
UN demands end to Israeli 'violations'
19 Jun 00 | Middle East
Lebanon demands more withdrawals
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