TEL AVIV (Feb. 2)
The Israel Defense Force has appointed a permanent liaison officer to the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) to prevent the recurrence of incidents such as the killing of an Irish UNIFIL soldier by Israeli tank fire on January 10.
The officer will be stationed at the IDF post at Bint Jbail in the south Lebanon security zone. Others will be stationed elsewhere in the zone as personnel becomes available, IDF sources said: The purpose is to improve communications between the IDF and UNIFIL which have been round-about and tenuous until now.
For example, an Israeli officer wishing to contact a UNIFIL unit now has to call the IDF in Marjayoun in the security zone which, in turn, has to contact a liaison officer in Tiberias. The latter then calls the IDF at the Rosh Hanikra border checkpoint which has to contact UNIFIL headquarters across the Lebanese border in Nakura.
By the time the message reaches the UNIFIL unit for which it is intended, an incident could have occurred in which UNIFIL soldiers are accidentally injured in a clash between the IDF and a terrorist band.