One Italian UNIFIL peacekeeper died on Friday after a bomb blew up a United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) vehicle on a highway leading to the southern Lebanese port city of Sidon, security sources said.
Four other peacekeepers were wounded in the attack, military and police officials stated.
The circumstances of the incident remain unclear. The explosion occurred on the highway leading to the port city, near the Awali River.
A UNIFIL spokesperson confirmed that a convoy transporting supplies was attacked, but refused to confirm any fatalities. "We received reported on casualties among the UNIFIL peacekeeping forces," was all he said.
Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini sent his condolences to the families of victims "who gave their lives to their country in a peacekeeping mission. "
"We owe it to the UNIFIL mission for contributing to the stability in one of the most sensitive regions of the Middle East and for this reason Italy is indebted to its military," said Frattini.
The blast occurred on the day that UNIFIL commemorates the International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers, remembering colleagues who lost their lives in the line of duty and celebrating their contributions to peace.
A similar incident occurred in January 2008, when a roadside bomb exploded near a UNIFIL vehicle traveling on a highway south of Beirut. Two peacekeepers were lightly injured in the incident.
In June 2007 six Spanish peacekeepers were killed when their tank exploded near the border with Israel.
Reuters, AFP contributed to this report
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