UN mission on Lebanon-Israel border marks 40th anniversary

UN mission on Lebanon-Israel border marks 40th anniversary
Head of Mission and Force Commander of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL), Maj. Gen. Michael Beary of Ireland, reviews an honor guard of United Nations peacekeepers, on his arrival at their headquarters, during a ceremony to mark the 40th anniversary of UNIFIL's peacekeeping presence in southern Lebanon, in the coastal town of Naqoura, Lebanon, Monday, March 19, 2018. (AP Photo/Hassan Ammar)

NAQOURA, Lebanon (AP) — The head of U.N. peacekeepers in Lebanon is praising their contribution to peace efforts as the force marks 40 years since its establishment on the frontier with neighboring Israel.

Maj. Gen. Michael Beary, commander of the force known as UNIFIL, said Monday that the mission “works tirelessly to pre-empt a return to conflict” between the two countries.

The force was founded in 1978 after Israel invaded parts of southern Lebanon. Violence has broken out on several occasions since then, including major wars in 1982 and 2006.

The 2006 war was fought between Israel and Lebanon’s militant Hezbollah group, and claimed the lives of more than 1,000 people on both sides.

Beary warned that conflict “can start in an instant, can take generations to find a permanent solution.”