Irish soldier on UN duty killed in Lebanon attack

The chief of staff of the Irish Defence Forces, Lt Gen Seán Clancy, said: “Our thoughts are with his family, his friends and his fellow peacekeepers from the 121st Infantry Battalion.

“Our focus now is to ensure the safety and continued support for all our personnel deployed in Lebanon.”   

Former army officer Senator Tom Clonan said Irish soldiers the route between the Irish Army’s camp in southern Lebanon and the capital Beirut was well-known among the Irish who had served there.

He said since 2011 there had been a rise in the “levels of radicalisation”.

“We’ve seen in parts of Lebanon and on the border with Syria, we have seen the rising of groups that are aligned with organisations like Islamic State,” he said.

Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald also passed on her sympathies to the families of the soldiers involved.

“There is a deep pride in the role that our forces have played in peacekeeping missions for decades, often in very dangerous circumstances and they are in our thoughts and prayers this morning,” she said.

Lebanon’s caretaker Premier Najib Mikati expressed his deep regret over the incident and called for an investigation, urging all parties to “show wisdom and patience”.

The Lebanese army also offered its condolences but did not give additional details on the incident.

A senior Hezbollah official, Wafiq Safa, said an “unintentional incident” had led to the peacekeeper’s death and that the armed group was not involved.

Earlier in the year, the taoiseach visited troops serving in Lebanon and laid a wreath to the 47 members of the Defence Forces who had died while in service on peacekeeping duty there up to that point.

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