Irish peacekeeper killed in Lebanon in ‘serious incident’



BEIRUT — An Irish soldier with the United Nations peacekeeping mission in Lebanon was killed on Wednesday evening throughout “a serious incident” when his armored car got here underneath small-arms fireplace, Ireland’s Defense Ministry mentioned.

A convoy of two autos carrying eight personnel from the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL), a mission arrange in 1978 to watch the border between Lebanon and Israel, was heading north to the airport within the capital Beirut.

According to UNIFIL’s assertion Thursday, one car ended up in al-Aqbieh, a village south of the coastal metropolis of Sidon, which lies simply outdoors the mission’s space of operations in south Lebanon.

The particulars of the assault are “sparse and conflicting” mentioned the assertion, which added that it’s coordinating with the Lebanese Armed Forces and has launched an investigation into the incident. After expressing condolences, it added, “our thoughts are also with the local civilians who may have been injured or frightened in the incident.”

One video circulating on social media confirmed a white car affixed with a UNIFIL quantity plate mendacity on its aspect, its again window smashed. In the brief video, a person in fatigues is half mendacity on the bottom, transferring his torso and arms slowly in a dazed method. Behind the car behind him is a retailer’s half-destroyed shutters.

Another video purportedly from the village in a single day confirmed a white car emerge from a throng of automobiles, as gunshots could be heard and sparks seem to emanate from the again of the automobile. The movies couldn’t be independently verified.

Ireland’s protection forces mentioned the 4 personnel have been taken to a hospital close to Sidon, the place one soldier was pronounced useless on arrival, and one other had undergone surgical procedure and is in critical situation. The different two are being handled for minor accidents.

Simon Coveney, Ireland’s minister of protection and of international affairs, mentioned in his personal statement that he shall be assembly with the U.N. secretary basic “to discuss the loss of our peacekeeper and the full investigation that must now follow.”

The final deadly assault on UNIFIL peacekeeping personnel was in 2007, when six Spanish peacekeepers have been killed in a bomb near the Lebanese-Israeli border. No one claimed the assault, which befell a yr after the month-long 2006 struggle between Israel and Hezbollah, the nation’s present strongest political celebration and strongest armed pressure.

The south of the nation is Hezbollah’s heartland, the place the group, alongside its ally Amal, maintain sway.

The 2006 battle killed at the very least 1,100 Lebanese, the overwhelming majority civilians, Human Rights Watch estimated. Following the struggle, the U.N. Security Council considerably boosted UNIFIL’s numbers, from about 2,000 earlier than the struggle to fifteen,000 army personnel, and expanded its unique mandate.

Since, there have been sporadic assaults on troops, although largely modest.

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Al-Akhbar, a newspaper intently affiliated with Hezbollah which frequently publishes leaks sanctioned by the group, mentioned based on its preliminary info, a gaggle of younger males from the realm tracked a car that took the seaside street, noting the atypical route for UNIFIL autos which often take the freeway.

The group, allegedly alarmed at seeing the car working late and out of doors UNIFIL areas of operation, tried to cease it. The driver refused after which drove over one of many males’s ft when making an attempt to go away, sparking anger amongst those that had surrounded the car.

The particulars of what adopted are murkier: Bullets got here from an unidentified supply, the paper mentioned, angering the group and inflicting the automobile to drive rapidly earlier than hanging a store.


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