The participating countries
France: Sending about 2,000 troops. A mechanized battalion, communications units and engineering corps units. French General Alain Pellegrini, formerly a military attache in Beirut, will head the UNIFIL force in the following six months. He will later be replaced by an Italian officer.
Italy: Sending up to 2,500 troops, 1,000 of them at the first stage. The force will feature marines from the Saint Marco battalion, a highly experienced battalion, which participated in the 1982 international force in Lebanon and in peacekeeping forces in Kosovo, Bosnia and Iraq. Italy is also sending a motorized infantry unit and five ships, among them three aircraft carriers.
Spain: Dispatching about 900 troops, a mechanized battalion and logistic support units.
Germany: Sending ships and navy units. They are expected to operate alongside some Dutch, Danish and Greek ships.
Finland: Supposed to send about 300 troops.
Belgium: 500 troops. These troops have participated in peacekeeping forces, mainly in Africa.
Poland: Will contribute up to 500 troops. The 200 already stationed in UNIFIL will be joined by 300 additional troops. Contrary to most armies in the world, soldiers in the Polish army salute with two fingers and not with the whole hand. Polish troops have served over 30 years in the UN force on the Golan Heights and participate in various international forces including those in Iraq.
Turkey: Intends to dispatch several hundred soldiers from logistic units. A good NATO member army. Considered a well-disciplined army, with a tradition of stubborn fighting.
India: Battalions from the Indian army have been participating in UNIFIL for many years. Indian soldiers were nearby when Hezbollah abducted the three IDF soldiers in 2000 at Mount Dov. Following this incident, Indian soldiers were accused in the Israeli press of participating/knowing/looking the other way/covering for the kidnapping. The Indian army spokesmen denied these allegations, which later proved to be totally unfounded. Considered a good army, well-disciplined and trained. Plenty of combat experience due to wars with Pakistan and China.
Ghana: A battalion from the Ghanaian army participates in UNIFIL. A general from the Ghanaian army formerly commanded UNIFIL. A professional and disciplined army, which fulfills peacekeeping and security missions as part of the UN and the African Union.
Indonesia: Has experience suppressing guerrillas and rebellions in the country.(Y.M.)
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