Amal Militiamen Vow To Kill UNIFIL Attackers
TYRE, Lebanon (AP) _ In an open challege to pro-Iranian radicals, a regional commander of the Syrian-backed Amal militia vowed Wednesday to kill anyone who attacks soldiers of the U.N. Peacekeeping Force in Lebanon.
″From now on we shall chop off the hands and cut off the heads of all those who attack UNIFIL,″ commander Daoud Daoud told about 50,000 people from the rooftop of U.N. group’s logistics base in Tyre. ″Your demonstration today is a massive ‘yes’ referendum vote for UNIFIL.″
″It also is a ‘yes’ to the decision to kill the saboteurs,″ said Hussein Karaki, a young member of the Shiite Moslem militia. ″They (the radicals) want UNIFIL to withdraw so that Israel could invade the south (of Lebanon) again and drive us out of our land.″
The public vow by Daoud brought chants from the demonstrators of ″Allah Akbar″ (God is Great) and ″UNIFIL, Don’t Go 3/8″ It was the biggest Lebanese display of support for UNIFIL in eight years, and followed several attacks in recent weeks that left five peacekeepers dead and 33 wounded.
″I hope this promise will be kept,″ Maj. Gen. Gustav Hagglund, commander of the multinational UNIFIL contingent, said after Daoud’s speech. ″If people are brought to justice for these attacks it will have a good effect on UNIFIL’s morale.″
The Finnish officer confirmed that gunmen had fired rocket-propelled grenades and automatic weapons at a French unit from UNIFIL on Tuesday night, but said it was ″a very minor harassment.″
The French contingent has borne the brunt of several recent attacks against UNIFIL, most of which local security sources have blamed on Iranian-backed Shiite extremists of Hezbollah, or Party of God.