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Israeli Warplanes Fly Over Bekaa Valley as Lebanese Troops Patrol Southern Border

  • VOA News

Lebanese security officials say Israeli warplanes have been flying over Lebanon's eastern Bekaa valley, but it is not clear if they have carried out any airstrikes.

The five-day-old ceasefire has largely been holding between Israel and Hezbollah guerrillas.

The overflights were reported as Lebanese troops took up positions across southern Lebanon in villages evacuated by Israel.

Beirut is deploying 15-thousand soldiers south of the Litani River as called for by the United Nations Security Council resolution on ending the month-long war. They will patrol the region along with up to 15-thousand international troops.

In New York on Friday, the Deptuty Secretary-General of the United Nations (Mark Malloch-Brown) appealed to European countries to contribute troops to the first wave of the expanded international peacekeeping force. He said the force should have both Muslim and European participation.

The UN hopes to deploy the advance force of 35-hundred troops within two weeks, but European countries have not firmed up their commitments.

France said on Thursday it will send only a small contingent of 200 troops. Italy has said it will send troops but it has not said how many.

Britain, Germany and the US will not send troops.

Bangladesh, Indonesia and Malaysia have offered troops but Israel has rejected Indonesia and Malaysia because they do not have relations with the Jewish state.

Speaking from the presidential retreat at Camp David (Maryland), President Bush said 0n Friday the US. is trying to get friends and allies to contribute.

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