A five-day live fire exercise between UNIFIL peacekeepers and Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) personnel concluded today in an open field south of UNIFIL Headquarters in Naqoura.
The “Steel Storm” drill, led by UNIFIL’s Force Commander’s Reserve (FCR) and conducted between the two forces twice a year, involved armoured assets, machine gun and small arms live fire.
Throughout this week’s exercise, LAF troops were joined by UNIFIL peacekeepers from FCR (Finland and France), Sector West (Ghana, the Republic of Korea, Malaysia, Poland, Ireland and Italy) and Sector East (India, Indonesia, Nepal and Spain).
LAF’s 5th Brigade elements, 7th brigade elements and 5th intervention regiment participated in the exercise throughout the week.
Under Security Council Resolution 1701, which forms the core of UNIFIL’s current mandate, the UN mission supports the LAF, which is the main provider of security and stability in south Lebanon. One of the ways it does this is through coordinated activities, like this week’s drill.
Coordinated activities help build capacity and help the LAF and UNIFIL better work together to maintain security in the south. These activities improve skills and expertise, maintain efficiency and mutual knowledge, train on fire support procedures, establish appropriate coordination mechanisms, and ensure effective liaising at all levels.
While welcoming the expansion of coordinated activities between the two forces, the UN Security Council last year called for “further enhancement of this cooperation.”
In 2020 alone, a total of 1,070 coordinated activities – including exercises, training programmes and workshops – were carried out both on land and at sea.
During this week’s “Steel Storm” exercise, limiting any potential disturbance to the local population was a priority. Lebanese Navy ships supported by the UNIFIL Maritime Task Force ensured safety at sea.