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Turkish Troops Arrive in Beirut, Join UN Mission in Lebanon


A contingent of Turkish troops has arrived in Lebanon, becoming the first Muslim country to contribute troops to the expanded United Nations peacekeeping mission along the Israel-Lebanon border.

Two Turkish ships carrying about 95 military and civilian engineers, armored personnel carriers, bulldozers and other construction equipment docked at Beirut's port Friday.

Turkey, which has ties to both Israel and Arab states, will eventually contribute about 700 troops to the U.N. mission.

Meanwhile, Ghana has agreed to a U.N. request to contribute more troops to the peacekeeping force in Lebanon. A spokesman for Ghana's military, Colonel Emmanuel Nibo, says a 200-member contingent will leave for southern Lebanon by the end of November. Ghana already has 700 soldiers in Lebanon.

Thursday, the French commander of U.N. forces in Lebanon said peacekeepers may at some point resort to force if Israeli military jets continue their overflights of Lebanon.

Major General Alain Pellegrini said the overflights are a violation of the U.N. ceasefire resolution in August that ended the month-long war between Israel and Hezbollah guerillas.

He said there have been no ceasefire violations on the ground in the U.N. area of operations, from Lebanon's Litani River south to the so-called Blue Line marking the Israel-Lebanon border.

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