Riding on an armored personnel carrier in 2005, a soldier with the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) patrols the Blue Line, which marks the border area from which Israel withdrew in 2000. Despite the presence of 2,000 UNIFIL troops from seven countries, sporadic fighting continues in the region.
Hezbollah militants operate with a free hand in southern Lebanon, which was the base of operations for the group's July 12, 2006, incursion into Israel. The area erupted the next day, when Israel launched an offensive to drive out the Islamic militants.
Photograph by Alexandra Avakian/National Geographic magazine