Lebanese judge charges five in killing of UN peacekeeper

Lebanese judge charges five in killing of UN peacekeeper

Jun 02, 2023

Beirut [Lebanon], June 2: A Lebanese military has formally accused five people, one of whom is already in custody, in the death of an Irish peacekeeper in southern Lebanon last year, a judicial source and the state-run news agency reported.
Investigating judge FadiSawan issued an indictment Thursday in the incident, which occurred when a patrol of the Irish battalion operating within the United Nations Interim Force in Southern Lebanon (UNIFIL) was attacked in the town of Al-Aqibiya in December 2022.
The incident resulted in the death of 23-year-old Private Sean Rooney. Three others were wounded.
Sawan formally charged Muhammad Ayad, who is custody. The other four - Ali Khalifa, Ali Salman, Hussein Salman and Mustafa Salman - are still at large.
A judicial source told dpa that the five who were indicted on Thursday are believed to be linked to the Lebanese Shiite Hezbollah and Amal movements in southern Lebanon. Hezbollah has denied any involvement in the attack.
The judge said such crimes are punishable by death.
According to the National News Agency (NNA), the judge referred the case to a military court and shared the indictment with the UNIFIL command.
"We are aware that the investigative judge issued an indictment earlier today in the case.... This is one important step towards justice and we continue to urge accountability for all perpetrators involved," UNIFIL spokesman Andrea Tenenti told DPA.
"Attacks on men and women serving the cause of peace are serious crimes and can never be tolerated," he added.
UNIFIL is one of the UN's oldest peacekeeping missions, started in March 1978 to maintain a truce between Israel and Lebanon.
It has more than 10,000 peacekeepers from 48 countries.
Source: Qatar Tribune