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Germany Authorizes Naval Force to Patrol Lebanese Coast


The German parliament has authorized the deployment of a naval force of up to 2,400 personnel to Lebanon.

The lower house overwhelmingly approved the deployment Wednesday with 442 lawmakers voting in favor, 152 against and five abstentions.

The Germans will support a United Nations force being assembled in southern Lebanon to enforce a truce that halted in August month-long fighting between Israel and Lebanon's Hezbollah guerrillas.

German Defense Minister Franz Josef Jung said the German force will include two frigates, four fast patrol boats and two helicopters.

Germany, mindful of its World War II Nazi past, has ruled out sending ground troops to the region. That decision was aimed at avoiding possible confrontations between German forces and Israeli troops.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel told lawmakers the Lebanon mission has historic dimensions.

German authorities say the mandate will permit German forces to confront suspect ships and use force, if necessary, anywhere in Lebanese waters.

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

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