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[January 15, 2013]
UNIFIL denies reports on phone monitoring
BEIRUT, Jan 16, 2013 (The Daily Star - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) -- A spokesperson for the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon denied recent media reports that peacekeepers had intercepted phone calls inside a Palestinian refugee camp in a statement provided to The Daily Star Tuesday.
The reports, which appeared in a number of Lebanese outlets including The Daily Star, attributed the information to a Lebanese security source who reportedly informed Palestinian officials that extremist groups in the camp were planning on carrying out terror attacks in Lebanon.
"UNIFIL operates only in the framework of its mandate under U.N. Security Council Resolution 1701," the UNIFIL statement read.
"UNIFIL's mandate and area of operation in south Lebanon are clearly defined in that resolution. UNIFIL's deployment and tasks are related to the cessation of hostilities between Lebanon and Israel; ensuring respect for the Blue Line; preventing hostile activities or any violation of Resolution 1701 and create an environment of peace and stability in South of Lebanon," it explained.
The spokesperson added that UNIFIL's monitoring activities are limited to the UNIFIL Maritime Task Force, which assists the Lebanese Navy in tracking maritime traffic, as per the request of the Lebanese government.
"UNIFIL does not monitor land lines and wireless telecommunications, which is not within its capabilities," the statement added.
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