Security threats

Updated: 2013-04-22 07:23

(China Daily)

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As tensions escalate, the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon now has 12,000 peacekeeping soldiers, six times as many as in 2006, before the Israel-Lebanon conflict. Huang Aiyu, commander of China's peacekeeping mission to Lebanon last year, said China has 343 peacekeepers in the country.

In 2007, six Spanish soldiers died and two were injured in a terrorist attack despite their efforts to secure peace in the country. Chinese soldiers immediately started to wear body armor and were armed with submachine guns. According to the UN peacekeeping code, soldiers should not fire the first shot, but can defend themselves when attacked.

In 2009, a potential assault by some Islamic extremists on Chinese peacekeepers horrified Feng Handong and his fellows. The company commander, then 27, shut the main entrance of their camp facing the road. Protective barbed wire was upgraded to walls of rocks. An electronic jamming car was placed next to the Chinese camp to detect remotely controlled bombs.

The Chinese peacekeeping soldiers also gathered information from personal networking in Tyre.

"Because of friendly relations with us, residents didn't want to accommodate any terrorists targeting Chinese soldiers," said Feng.

Fortunately, no assaults happened in the next two months.

"Our local employees said the terrorists found security was tightened and gave up the attack," Feng said.

- Hu Yongqi

(China Daily 04/22/2013 page6)