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Italian Peacekeepers Arrive in Lebanon


Italian troops have begun arriving in Lebanon to boost a United Nations peacekeeping mission.

Helicopters and rubber boats were bringing ashore the more than 800 soldiers from an Italian military ship off the coast of the southern city of Tyre.

Those troops are part of the first large contingent to arrive since Israel and Hezbollah agreed to end their fighting in Lebanon.

Italy's military plans to deploy more than 2,000 soldiers in the coming months to the international force that will include some 15,000 personnel. Spain and France also are making large contributions to the force.

In Beirut, Lebanese lawmakers began a sit-in to protest Israel's continued blockade of air, land and sea access to Lebanon.

U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan has said Israel should withdraw from Lebanon once five thousand U.N. peacekeepers have deployed.

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