UN peacekeepers intensify patrols along Israel/Lebanon border

1. Wide of Lebanese army vehicles on patrol next to Lebanese/Israeli border
2. Mid of United Nations soldier on armoured vehicle
3. UN vehicle on patrol
4. SOUNDBITE: (Arabic) Hussein Mahmoud, Lebanese villager:
“The situation seems until now to be normal and I hope it stays that way.”
5. Various of Israeli army vehicles patrolling behind fence on Israeli side of border
6. Wide of UN armoured vehicle on patrol
7. Various of Israeli army vehicles behind fence
8. Pan of UN armoured vehicle driving past
9. Wide of Israeli settlement, Mtilli
10. Mid of UN soldiers climbing on to armoured vehicle
11. Wide of Lebanese troops near border
12. Wide of two UN vehicles near border
United Nations peacekeepers in southern Lebanon intensified patrols along the border with Israel on Sunday in response to a nationwide Israeli emergency situations drill.
Lebanese troops in the area were also put on alert for the drill, according to the Lebanese military.
AP Television footage showed movement from Israeli and Lebanese troops on both sides of the border.
The heightened security came after Israel launched a five-day home front security drill meant to simulate responses to war and other emergency situations, including a large-scale attack or natural catastrophe.
Deputy Defence Minister Matan Vilnai said the drill, which began on Sunday, is meant to help Israel apply lessons from its 2006 war in Lebanon.
Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Saniora ordered the Lebanese army to take necessary precautions to protect the Lebanese people during the drill and to monitor the area to watch for any Israeli violation of the border, the defence ministry said in a press release on Saturday.
He also asked UN peacekeepers to monitor any possible Israeli violations of the cease-fire resolution that ended the 34-day war between Israel and Hezbollah militants in Lebanon in August 2006.
Israeli officials deny the exercise is related to current friction along Israel’s northern border with Syria and Lebanon, and say messages have been sent to those countries to try to explain the nature of the drill.
Vilnai says no forces have been mobilised for the exercise along the northern front, and reservists have not been called up.
“The situation seems until now to be normal and I hope it stays that way,” said one local villager, Hussein Mahmoud.

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