Lebanese judiciary files charges against 7 over UNIFIL attack


Lebanon has charged seven people for participating in an attack against United Nations peacekeepers that killed one Irish soldier in mid-December, a judicial official told AFP on Thursday.

Private Sean Rooney, 23, was killed and three others were injured on December 14 when their U.N. Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) vehicle was attacked near the village of al-Aqbiyeh in the south of the country, a stronghold of the powerful Iran-backed Hezbollah.

UNIFIL urged Beirut to ensure a swift investigation, the first violent death of one of its peacekeepers in nearly eight years.

Seven bullets pierced the U.N. vehicle, one hitting the driver in the head, judicial sources said.

Only one of the seven charged is in custody, Mohammed Ayyad, who was handed over to the army by Hezbollah last month.

On Wednesday, Ayyad was charged "with killing the Irish soldier and attempting to kill his three comrades by shooting them with a machine gun," the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity as they did not have permission to speak to the media.

The judge also charged six fugitives "for uttering threats with an illegal weapon, destroying the UNIFIL vehicle and intimidating its passengers," the official added.

UNIFIL, made up of some 10,000 peacekeepers, has been deployed since 1978 to act as a buffer between Lebanon and Israel, which remain technically in a state of war.

There have been incidents in the past between Hezbollah supporters and UNIFIL patrols, but they have rarely escalated.

The group has distanced itself from the latest attack, hastening to offer its condolences to the UNIFIL forces.

A security official has previously said that Hezbollah was cooperating with the investigation, which is led by Lebanon's military intelligence service.

Comments 5
Thumb i.report 05 January 2023, 15:21

I hope the death penalty is on the table for the 7.

Thumb justin 05 January 2023, 20:31

Keep dreaming! The terrorist who shot the LAF pilot was kept in a villa and regularly visited by Mohammad Road and others and was being served home cooked meals and eventually released. Notice how the military court did not sentence them to prison for life and did not mention "they confessed" (at least the one in custody) as it usually does!

Thumb i.report 06 January 2023, 18:21

I know bro. I know…

Thumb i.report 06 January 2023, 23:27

Allah yir7am Samer Hanna, as long as we never forget his name he still lives.

Missing un520 05 January 2023, 15:29

So the "Party of God" handed over the village idiot and gave the six others one way-tickets to Teheran where they will be celebrated.