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The U.N. Security Council extended the mandate of its peacekeeping force in southern Lebanon, UNIFIL.

During debate before the vote Wednesday, Israeli and Lebanese officials exchanged barbs.

Israeli Ambassador Daniel Carmon charged that there has been a massive redeployment of armed Hezbollah terrorists and increased weapons transfers from Syria and Iran, and he criticized the Lebanese government’s inclusion of Hezbollah in the government.

“In Israel, we expect UNIFIL, under its renewed mandate, to exert its authority to take all necessary action, in areas of deployment of its forces, to ensure that its area of operations is not utilized for hostile activities of any kind and to resist attempts to prevent it from discharging its mandate,” Carmon told the council. “As we are all witnessing, this is indeed a big challenge.”

Lebanese President Michel Suleiman criticized Israel for threatening his country and said he feared that the threats would become actions. He also said his country was honoring U.N. resolution 1701, which brought the 2006 Second Lebanon War to an end.

The Security Council extended the mandate of the 13,000-troop UNIFIL force for an additional year, to Aug. 31, 2009.

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