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Hundreds of Italian Troops Land in Lebanon to Bolster UN Force


Hundreds of additional Italian soldiers are arriving in Lebanon to reinforce the international peacekeeping force in the region.

Some 500 Italian troops arrived Saturday and 500 more are expected today Sunday, raising the total number of U.N. peacekeepers to 3,250.

The U.N. Security Council plans to deploy 15 thousand international troops on the Israeli - Lebanese border to monitor the ceasefire between Israel and Hezbollah.

Indonesia announced Saturday that it has accepted a U.N. invitation and is planning to send one thousand troops to join the mission.

Israel has opposed help from from countries that do not have diplomatic relations with the Jewish state.

Indonesian presidential foreign policy advisor Dino Pati Djalal told VOA the U.N. invitation indicates Israel reversed its objections, but Israel has not commented on the announcement.

Also Sunday, Russia's defense minister, Sergei Ivanov, told the Itar-tass news agency that Moscow is willing to send army engineers -- but not peacekeeping troops -- to help rebuild Lebanon's infrastructure.

Malaysia and Bangladesh have also offered help, but neither has diplomatic relations with Israel, and their offer has not been formally accepted.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and AP.

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