Troops test tactics for Lebanon tour
More than 300 troops have been put to the test as they prepared to take up peacekeeping duties in south Lebanon.
The soldiers, undergoing the final phases of an intensive training exercise in the Glen of Imaal in west Wicklow, have been dealing with simulated explosive strikes, adopting anti-ambush tactics, air mobile helicopter drills, detailed planning and traditional peacekeeping methods.
The contingent of 332 Irish troops will join with 177 Finnish soldiers to form the 107th Irish/Finn battalion, led by Dubliner Lieut Col Dave Dignam, who said he was looking forward to leading the unit in such a potentially volatile area.
"We have a tough six months ahead, including spending Christmas away from home, but I have full confidence in my multi-national team to get the job done", he added.
The battalion will occupy a new post, which will be renamed Camp Shamrock and become its headquarters. It is located about 7km from the internationally recognised Blue Line boundary, which divides Lebanon and Israel.
The new headquarters will also be closer to the two Irish manned outposts, which are located on the frontline.
Five Finnish officers also took part in the mission readiness exercise in the Glen.
Irish troops have served in Lebanon since 1978 and have 54 continuous years' experience on peacekeeping operations in hostile environments throughout the world.