Spanish prince makes surprise visit to troops in Lebanon
MADRID (AFP) The heir to the Spanish throne, Crown Prince Felipe, made a surprise visit to Lebanon on Friday to meet with Spanish troops serving with United Nations peacekeeping forces in the country, the Royal Palace said.
"He is in fact today in Lebanon to meet with Spanish troops," a spokesman for the Royal Palace said, confirming earlier reports in the Spanish media.
The 40-year-old prince arrived in Beirut on Friday morning, where he was received by Spain's ambassador to Lebanon, Miguel Benz.
He was scheduled then to travel by helicopter to Marjeyoun in the south of the country where more than 1,000 Spanish troops are serving under the United Nations Interim Forces in Lebanon (UNIFIL), Spanish media reported.
Prince Felipe is expected to take part in an homage to Spanish troops who have been killed in Lebanon while at Spain's Miguel de Cervantes military base.
Six members of the Spanish contingent serving in Lebanon were killed in 2007 when a booby-trapped car exploded as their patrol vehicle passed by.
UNIFIL, which was set up in 1978 to monitor the border between Israel and southern Lebanon, was considerably beefed up in the wake of the 2006 war between Israeli forces and Hezbollah guerrillas. In June Prince Felipe made a surprise visit to Afghanistan to meet with Spanish troops serving with NATO-led forces there.
Spanish prince makes surprise visit to troops in Lebanon - Middle East Times