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Gaza: amid growing concerns Italian Defense Minister Crosetto visits UNIFIL peacekeepers

SHAMA, OCTOBER 23 – The Italian Minister of Defense, Guido Crosetto, made a brief visit today to Italian military personnel serving as UNIFIL peacekeepers in southern Lebanon, along the so-called “Blue Line,” that marks the border between Lebanon and Israel.

About 1,100 Italians in uniform are currently serving among the approximately 10,000 peacekeepers from 49 countries participating in UNIFIL. The blue helmets are tasked with ensuring compliance with the ceasefire in an area that, after the attacks by Hamas against Israel on October 7, is experiencing ongoing exchanges of fire between the Israeli Defense Forces and Hezbollah militias operating from Lebanon.

The visit comes in response to concerns, openly shared by Minister Crosetto in recent days, about the safety of Italian military personnel. At the Shama military base, the minister was welcomed by General Giovanni Brafa Musicoro, who leads the Italian contingent, with the largest contribution coming from the Sardinian Grenadiers Brigade.

Il ministro Crosetto

“I am here to demonstrate the attention, respect, and closeness of the Government. But also to see in person how you are doing because that’s how it’s done in our large Defense family,” said Crosetto who emphasized: “Our greatest defense is the respect we have earned, that you have earned. The relationship established with the Lebanese people, the Lebanese Armed Forces, and all the actors in the field. The heritage we enjoy is built on the respect we have earned here, as in Kosovo, through your daily work. I always say that the greatest strength we have is the respect Italy has earned.”

While delving into the role of the mission, the Minister added, “The Blue Helmets play a fundamental role in pacification and protection of the population. It is even more crucial to preserve this presence for the entire world that believes in peace. Compared to previous months the peacekeepers are facing increasing difficulties.” Crosetto also emphasized that “it is necessary to make a clear distinction between Hamas, which is a terrorist organization with the aim of destroying Israel, and the fate of the Palestinian people.” (@OnuItalia)

Il giornale Italiano delle Nazioni Unite. Ha due redazioni, una a New York, l’altra a Roma.

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