UN Irish peacekeeper killed in shooting in southern Lebanon

An Irish U.N. peacekeeper was killed and several others were injured when unidentified attackers opened fire on a convoy in southern Lebanon, Irish and Lebanese military officials said Thursday. 

The Irish Defense Forces said in a declaration that a pair of armoured vehicles carrying eight Irish troops from the U.N. peacekeeping mission, known as UNIFIL, was fired on as they drove north, toward Beirut on Wednesday night near the town of Al-Aqbiya.

The Irish military identified the killed peacekeeper as Pvt. Seán Rooney of Newtowncunningham, Ireland. It remarked that one of the three wounded soldiers was in serious condition. It did not identify the assailants.

UNIFIL confirmed that one peacekeeper was killed and three were wounded but did not share further details.

“Our thoughts are also with the local civilians who may have been injured or frightened during the incident,” UNIFIL spokesperson Andrea Tenenti said, adding that “details are sparse and conflicting.” Tenenti added that UNIFIL is coordinating with the Lebanese military and trying to “determine exactly what happened.”

Lebanon’s Foreign Ministry condemned the incident, while the office of Lebanese caretaker Prime Minister Najib Mikati issued a statement calling for an investigation.

Mikati “praised the sacrifices that UNIFIL forces made to maintain peace in the south, which reflects stability for the people of the region and Lebanon in general,” the statement said.

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