Hundreds of Spanish soldiers arrived in southern Lebanon on Friday as the latest batch to join the expanded UN peacekeeping forces in the Middle Eastern country.
The Spanish soldiers, rolling ashore in amphibious military vehicles on a tourist beach from two Spanish warships off the coast of Tyre, will join other Spanish forces that arrived days ago.
On Saturday, the number of Spanish forces deployed in southern Lebanon is expected to total 550, said a Spanish official from the peacekeeping mission.
At the end of October, the Spanish contingent is expected to have 1,100 soldiers, making Spain the third-largest contributor to the UN peacekeeping forces after France and Italy.
By Friday, some 5,000 UN peacekeepers would have been deployed in Lebanon, said an official of the UN peacekeeping mission.
The expanded deployment is authorized by the Resolution 1701, adopted by the UN Security Council in efforts to restore peace in Lebanon after the war between Israel and the Lebanese militia Hezbollah.
The resolution calls for Israel's withdrawal from Lebanon and authorizes an increase in the existing UN forces in Lebanon to 15,000 troops to help Lebanese troops take control of south Lebanon as Israeli forces withdraw.