Irish UN soldier killed on Lebanon peacekeeping mission
By Nathan Morley
It has been confirmed that an Irish soldier on UN peacekeeping duty lost his life and three other troops were wounded in the incident, which happened when a UN armoured jeep was surrounded by a hostile crowd and fired on while travelling to Beirut.
The men were members of the 121st Infantry Battalion, UNIFIL (United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon).
The reason for the attack remains unclear.
The Irish Prime Minister said it would be wise to wait for a full investigation before commenting on the attack.
"The two armoured vehicles effectively got separated, one of them got surrounded by a hostile mob – I think that’s the only way you could describe them - and shots were fired and unfortunately one of our peacekeepers was killed and another was very seriously injured," Irish Defence Minister Simon Coveney told RTE, the Irish radio network.
The soldier killed has been named as 23-year-old Private Seán Rooney, who was a native of County Donegal.
RTE later reported that a senior Hezbollah official said an "unintentional incident" had led to the peacekeeper's death and that the armed group was not involved.
Lebanon's Prime Minister Najib Mikati voiced his deep regret over the death and called for an investigation.
UNIFIL was set up in the late 1970s to confirm the Israeli withdrawal from Lebanon and restore international peace and security in the region.
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