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Indonesians to Join U.N. in Lebanon

November 25, 2006

JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) _ A third batch of Indonesians left Saturday to join a U.N. peacekeeping force in Lebanon, bringing the Asian nation’s Middle East deployment to more than 830 troops.

They will join a U.N. mission of around 6,000 personnel monitoring a cease-fire between Israel and the militant group Hezbollah, reached after the two sides fought a war in Lebanon earlier this year.

On Saturday, 236 forces, including logistics and information officers, took off from Jakarta’s Sukarno-Hatta international airport, said Maj. Muhammad Irawadi, a spokesman for the Indonesian contingent.

Irawadi said the last batch brought to 706 the number of forces to have left since Thursday.

An advance team of around 130 Indonesians _ among them Lt. Agus Harimurti Yudhoyono, the son of President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono _ arrived in Lebanon early this month and is now with Spanish peacekeepers in southern Lebanon.

The departure of the mission had been delayed repeatedly by logistical problems.

As the world’s most populous Muslim nation, Indonesia was quick to offer troops, armored personnel carriers, trucks and ambulances to the Mideast force, expected to grow to 15,000.

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