Lebanon charges seven over killing of UN peacekeeper

© Luis Romero, AP

Lebanon's military tribunal on Thursday charged seven suspects in last month's attack that killed an Irish peacekeeper when a group of armed local residents ambushed his convoy and opened fire, officials said.

The shooting took place near the town of Al-Aqbiya in southern Lebanon, a center of support for the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah, which has denied any role in the killing.

The attack killed Pvt. Seán Rooney, 24, of Newtown Cunningham, Ireland, and seriously wounded Pvt. Shane Kearney, 22. The wounded peacekeeper was medically evacuated from Lebanon to Ireland. Two other Irish troops in the vehicle sustained light injuries.

In late December, the Lebanese military arrested a suspect, allegedly “in cooperation with Hezbollah," according to the group, which said the man was not a Hezbollah member.

The arrested man and six others were charged in the attack, according to a judicial official familiar with the investigation, a legal official following the case, and a military official. All spoke on condition of anonymity in line with regulations.

The officials said that a search is underway for the other six suspects and that officials are trying to determine whether they had left the country.

The Lebanese military in a brief statement said the case was transferred to the “appropriate judiciary” on Tuesday, but did mention the charges or other developments.


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