An Irish soldier has been killed on a United Nations peackeeping mission after a convoy of two armoured utility vehicles carrying eight personnel travelling to Beirut came under small arms fire, Ireland’s defence forces have said in a statement.
Another member of the United Nations Interim Forces in Lebanon (UNIFIL) is in a serious condition having undergone surgery following the incident late on Wednesday, the statement said. Two other soldiers are being treated for minor injuries.
“It is with deep regret that Óglaigh na hÉireann (the Irish defence forces) can confirm the death of one of our peacekeepers in a serious incident in Lebanon last night,” the defence forces said.
The reason behind the attack is unclear.
Irish Defence Minister Simon Coveney, who is in New York for a UN Security Council meeting, said he will meet UN Secretary General António Guterres later on Thursday to discuss the incident.
“As a people, we take great pride in our unbroken record of peacekeeping with the United Nations. However, we must never forget the dangers that come with this work,” Irish President Michael D. Higgins said in a statement.
UNIFIL was established in 1978 to oversee the Israeli withdrawal from Lebanon during the Lebanese Civil War and the Israeli invasion of Lebanon.
It is made up of over 10,000 personnel from a number of countries around the world, led by Indonesia, India and Italy. (AlJazeera)