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29 May has been designated as the "International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers" by the United Nations. 29 May 2008 was the sixtieth anniversary of UN Peacekeeping Forces being deployed:
Sixty years ago on that date, the United Nations Security Council established the first peacekeeping operation, the United Nations Truce Supervision Organization (UNTSO), based in the Middle East.
In 2001, the General Assembly proclaimed 29 May as the International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers to pay tribute to the men and women who serve in United Nations peacekeeping operations and honour the memory of those who have lost their lives in the cause of peace.


Main article: United Nations Truce Supervision Organization (UNTSO)

First Casualties

On 6 July 1948 the UN observers had their first casualty with the death of the Frenchmarker Observer Commandant Rene Labarrière while working with the Mixed Armistice Commission, he was wounded near the Afulamarker area and later died in the Jewish Hospital at Afula. He was fatally wounded while investigating an alleged violation of the truce provisions by Jewish forces during the 1948 Arab-Israeli War Commandant du Moustier de Canchy, of the French Army who was with Commandant Rene Labarrière survived his wounds.

Ole H. Bakke, of Norway, a United Nations guard, killed while on duty at Jerusalem on 13 July 1948.

Lieutenant-Colonel Joseph Queru, of the French Army, killed while on duty near Gaza on 28 August 1948.

Captain Pierre Jeannel, of the French Army, killed while on duty near Gaza on 28 August 1948.


Captain Robert Dens, of the Belgian Army, wounded while on duty near Gaza on 3 July 1948.

Private First Class Edward Brodeur, of the United States Marine Corps, wounded while on duty at Jerusalem on 3 July 1948.

Captain Paul J. J. Leyder, of the Belgian Army, wounded while on duty at Latrun on 1 August 1948.

Captain Michel Taymans, of the Belgian Army, wounded while on duty at Jerusalem on 13 August 1948.

Captain Henri Tors, of the French Army, wounded while on duty at Jerusalem on 28 August 1948.

Eric Gormsen, of the United States of America, a United Nations guard, wounded while on duty at Jerusalem on 8 September 1948.

Count Folke Bernadotte noted that all these men were casualties in the service of the international community. And he commend their gallantry and devotion to duty, and express his sincerest sympathy to the families of those who have lost their lives.

Count Folke Bernadotte

Count Folke Bernadotte was assassinated on 17 September 1948 by members of Lehi, a Jewish Zionist underground sometimes known as the Stern Gang. The assassination was approved by the three-man Lehi 'center': Yitzhak Shamir, Natan Yellin-Mor, and Yisrael Eldad, and planned by the Lehi operations chief in Jerusalemmarker, Yehoshua Zetler. A four-man team lead by Meshulam Makover ambushed Bernadotte's motorcade in Jerusalem's Katamonmarker neighborhood and team member Yehoshua Cohen fired into Bernadotte's car. Bernadotte and his aide, UN observer Colonel André Serot, were killed. General Åge Lundström, who was in the car, described the incident as follows:

Folke Bernadotte memorial in Uppsala, Sweden

“In the Katamon quarter, we were held up by a Jewish Army type jeep placed in a road block and filled with men in Jewish Army uniforms.
At the same moment, I saw an armed man coming from this jeep.
I took little notice of this because I merely thought it was another checkpoint.
However, he put a Tommy gun through the open window on my side of the car, and fired point blank at Count Bernadotte and Colonel Serot.
I also heard shots fired from other points, and there was considerable confusion… Colonel Serot fell in the seat in back of me, and I saw at once that he was dead.
Count Bernadotte bent forward, and I thought at the time he was trying to get cover.
I asked him: 'Are you wounded?'
He nodded, and fell back… When we arrived at the Hadassah Hospitalmarker, … I carried the Count inside and laid him on the bed…I took off the Count's jacket and tore away his shirt and undervest.
I saw that he was wounded around the heart and that there was also a considerable quantity of blood on his clothes about it.
When the doctor arrived, I asked if anything could be done, but he replied that it was too late.”

Mount Scopus Incidents

On 24 July 1956, Jordanmarker’s Arab Legion occupied a house inside the disputed armistice line of Jerusalem’s Mount Scopusmarker enclave. Israelimarker fire was soon brought to bear on the position, precipitating a protracted fire-fight. Canadian officers Major Marcel Breault and Major George Flint, serving as observers with the United Nations Truce Supervision Organization (UNTSO), managed to arrange a local ceasefire. However, while attempting to reach the house in question and confer directly with the Jordanians, one of the men triggered an anti-personnel mine, severely wounding both soldiers.

The day after the wounding of MOs Breault and Flint, a Jordanian mob attacked Swedishmarker observer Lt.-Col. E.H. Thalin.

On 26 May 1958 at 1654 Local time Lieutenant-Colonel Flint was killed apparently by a single sniper round while trying to evacuate wounded Israelis after the Israeli police patrol came under sniper fire in the heavily contested Mount Scopus area, After Lt.-Colonel Flint had proceeded 40 to 50 metres towards the place where the body of the previously killed Israeli officer was situated, carrying a white flag, there was a single shot and he was hit by a bullet of apparently the same origin, as the one which had hit the Israeli policeman a few minutes earlier. An unwounded Israeli lying only two metres from Lt.-Colonel Flint shouted that the latter was not moving and that he could see the entrance hole of the bullet. An UNMO who was at a short distance saw the impact of the bullet and, as Lt.-Colonel Flint had fallen immediately, concluded that he must have been killed instantly.

Captain Jack Holly, USMC.

Captain Jack Holly, USMC joined UNTSO in May 1973, several months before the outbreak of the Yom Kippur War. In the period just after the Yom Kippur cease fire was declared, Captain Holly and his OP partner, an Irishmarker UNMO Jim Mortell, were on post high on the elevated ridges of Mt. Hermonmarker. Late one evening, an over-enthusiastic Arab soldier burst on the scene and forced them out of their racks. The Arab soldier commenced a gun-point march toward Damascus with both Holly and the Jim Mortell, Irish UNMO wearing only their skivies. Under the security of darkness, the Arab soldier marched them barefoot over very rocky terrain. They passed an Israeli strong point, went through Syrianmarker lines, and then walked half way to Damascusmarker. Once the Syrian Government realized the situation, both the Irish and U.S. Marine UNMO were returned to UN custody. Nevertheless, their feet were severely damaged. Captain Holly was in a convalescent status for a prolonged period.Jim Mortell having carried Jack Holly for some of the journey.


As of April 30, 2008, United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon employs 12,341 military personnel, supported by some 307 international civilian and 606 local civilian staff and it is headed by Italianmarker Force Commander Major-General Claudio Graziano.

To date UNIFIL has suffered 272 fatalities: 261 troops, two military observers, five international civilian staff, and four local staff.

Shelling of UN compound

The 1996 shelling of Qana, commonly referred to as the Qana massacre, took place on April 18, 1996 in Qanamarker, a village in Southern Lebanon, when Israelimarker artillery attacked a UN compound. Of the 800 Lebanese civilians who had taken refuge in the compound to escape the fighting, 106 were killed and around 116 injured. Four Fijianmarker UNIFIL soldiers were also seriously injured.

Other Combat-related incidents

  • During a day in which Hezbollah opened small arms fire at a UNIFIL convoy, four soldiers from the Ghanaian battalion were lightly injured after an Israeli tank shell hit a UNIFIL position during the fighting in southern Lebanon on 24 July 2006.
  • Shrapnel from tank shells fired by the IDF seriously wounded an Indian soldier on 16 July 2006
  • On 25 July 2006 four UNTSO observers from Austriamarker, Canadamarker, Chinamarker and Finlandmarker were killed when an Israeli aerial bomb struck an OGL patrol base near Khiammarker in southern Lebanon. According to the UN, the Israelis claimed to be responding to "Hezbollah fire from that vicinity" and the four had taken shelter in a bunker under the post. The area around the site was shelled a total of 14 times by Israeli artillery throughout the day despite warning calls made by UN personnel to the IDF. Later, a rescue team was also shelled as it tried to clear the rubble.

UNDOF Fatalities

UNDOF zone map
The United Nations Disengagement Observer Forcemarker (UNDOF) Zone was established by the United Nations after the adoption of UN Security Council Resolution 350 on May 31 1974, on the same day the "Agreement on Disengagement" (S/11302/Add.1, annexes I and II) was signed between Israelimarker and Syrianmarker forces on the Golan Heightsmarker.

42 military personnel1 international civilian staff

On 9 August 1974 a Canadianmarker Buffalo transport aircraft was on a routine re-supply flight, from Beirutmarker to Damascus, for Canadian peacekeepers in the Golan Heights. Flight 51 was carrying five crew members and four passengers; Capt G.G Foster, Capt K.B. Mirau, Capt R.B. Wicks, MWO G. Landry, A/MWO C.B. Korejwo, MCpl R.C Spencer, Cpl M.H.T. Kennington, Cpl M.W. Simpson and Cpl B.K. Stringer. All were members of the Canadian Armed Forces. At 1150 hours on 9 August 1974, while on final approach into Damascus, the aircraft went down in the outskirts of the Syrian town of Ad Dimasmarker killing all on board. This remains the largest single-day loss of life in Canada’s peace- keeping history.


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