Italy wants to reduce its Lebanon troops

AP News
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Posted: May 28, 2011 1:29 PM
Italy wants to reduce its Lebanon troops

Italy says it wants to reduce its contingent in a peacekeeping mission in southern Lebanon, a day after six Italian peacekeepers were wounded by a roadside bomb on a U.N. convoy there.

Defense Minister Ignazio La Russa said in a newspaper interview published Saturday that the attack was "a terrorist act of Palestinian fringes." It was the first such attack on U.N. peacekeepers there since 2008.

La Russa told La Repubblica that Italy wants to reduce its 1,780 troops to about 1,100. But he said that any downsizing of Italian troops would be gradual and that Italy would not "abandon" Lebanon.

The minister also called for "new diplomatic action to push other states, including non-European ones, to provide troops and equipment."