Lebanon Military Judge Charges 5 Hezbollah Members for Peacekeeper's Death

FILE - Lebanese soldiers stand behind a damaged vehicle after a UN peacekeepers convoy came under fire in the Al-Aqbiya village, south Lebanon, Thursday, Dec. 15, 2022. (AP Photo/Mohammed Zaatari, File)
FILE - Lebanese soldiers stand behind a damaged vehicle after a UN peacekeepers convoy came under fire in the Al-Aqbiya village, south Lebanon, Thursday, Dec. 15, 2022. (AP Photo/Mohammed Zaatari, File)
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Lebanon Military Judge Charges 5 Hezbollah Members for Peacekeeper's Death

FILE - Lebanese soldiers stand behind a damaged vehicle after a UN peacekeepers convoy came under fire in the Al-Aqbiya village, south Lebanon, Thursday, Dec. 15, 2022. (AP Photo/Mohammed Zaatari, File)
FILE - Lebanese soldiers stand behind a damaged vehicle after a UN peacekeepers convoy came under fire in the Al-Aqbiya village, south Lebanon, Thursday, Dec. 15, 2022. (AP Photo/Mohammed Zaatari, File)

Lebanon's military tribunal on Thursday charged five men with the killing of an Irish UN peacekeeper in December, a senior judicial official said. The official alleged all five are linked with Hezbollah.

The indictment of Judge Fadi Sawan followed a half-year probe after an attack on a UN peacekeeping convoy near the town of Al-Aqbiya in southern Lebanon. The shooting resulted in the death of Pvt. Seán Rooney, 24, of Newtown Cunningham, Ireland, and seriously wounded Pvt. Shane Kearney, 22. The wounded peacekeeper was medically evacuated to Ireland. Two other Irish soldiers sustained light injuries.

The 30-page indictment includes evidence from bystanders’ testimonies, as well as audio recordings and video footage from surveillance cameras, the Lebanese official said. In some of the recordings of the confrontation, the gunmen reportedly could be heard telling the peacekeepers that they are from Hezbollah and were using walkie-talkies to communicate.

Hezbollah has denied any role in the killing.

One of five indicted, Mohamad Ayyad, is currently in custody of Lebanese authorities. The four others facing charges - Ali Khalifeh, Ali Salman, Hussein Salman, and Mustafa Salman - are at large.

On the fatal night, Rooney and several other Irish soldiers with the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL), were on their way from their base in the south to the Beirut airport. Two UN vehicles apparently took a detour through Al-Aqbiya, which is not part of the area under the peacekeepers’ mandate.

Initial reports said angry residents confronted the peacekeepers, but the indictment concludes that the shooting was a targeted attack. The UN peacekeeper vehicle reportedly took a wrong turn and was surrounded by vehicles and armed men as they tried to make their way back to the main road.

UNIFIL spokesperson Andrea Tenenti said the indictment was an “important step towards justice”.

“Attacks on men and women serving the cause of peace are serious crimes and can never be tolerated,” Tenenti told the AP. “We look forward to justice for Private Rooney, his injured colleagues, and their families.”



Israeli Strikes Reportedly Target Hezbollah Ammunition Depot in Lebanon

Lebanese army soldiers check the wreckage of a vehicle after an Israeli airstrike targeted the area near the village of Burj al-Muluk, some 18 kms from the town of Nabatiyeh on July 20, 2024.  (Photo by Rabih DAHER / AFP)
Lebanese army soldiers check the wreckage of a vehicle after an Israeli airstrike targeted the area near the village of Burj al-Muluk, some 18 kms from the town of Nabatiyeh on July 20, 2024. (Photo by Rabih DAHER / AFP)
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Israeli Strikes Reportedly Target Hezbollah Ammunition Depot in Lebanon

Lebanese army soldiers check the wreckage of a vehicle after an Israeli airstrike targeted the area near the village of Burj al-Muluk, some 18 kms from the town of Nabatiyeh on July 20, 2024.  (Photo by Rabih DAHER / AFP)
Lebanese army soldiers check the wreckage of a vehicle after an Israeli airstrike targeted the area near the village of Burj al-Muluk, some 18 kms from the town of Nabatiyeh on July 20, 2024. (Photo by Rabih DAHER / AFP)

Israeli strikes late on Saturday targeted a depot storing ammunition belonging to Hezbollah in southern Lebanon, three security sources told Reuters.

The strikes on the town of Adloun, about 40 km north of Lebanon's border with Israel, set off a string of loud explosions heard by witnesses across the south of Lebanon.

At least four civilians in Adloun were wounded in the strikes, a medical source and a security source told Reuters.

Hezbollah said that its fighters fired dozens of rockets into northern Israel on Saturday, targeting a kibbutz for the first time in nine months in retaliation for an Israeli drone strike earlier in the day that wounded several people including children.
Also Saturday, Hamas said it fired rockets from Lebanon toward an Israeli army post in the northern Israeli village of Shomera in retaliation for the “Zionists massacres” in the Gaza Strip. Hamas has carried out such attacks form Lebanon over the past several months, but they have been rare.
Hezbollah’s attack with dozens of Katyusha rockets on the northern Israeli kibbutz of Dafna came few hours after an Israeli drone strike hit a car in the southern Lebanese village of Burj al-Muluk, and shrapnel from the missile wounded several people who were standing nearby. The state-run National News Agency said that the wounded civilians are Syrian citizens and they included children.

The Israeli military said that about 45 projectiles were detected crossing from Lebanon into northern Israel in three separate barrages. It said that some were intercepted, while others fell in open areas, causing no injuries, but triggering several fires in the Golan Heights.