Hizbullah Hands Over Man Suspected of Killing UN Peacekeeper
Lebanon’s Hizbullah has handed over the man suspected of killing Irish United Nations peacekeeper Sean Rooney in southern Lebanon near the border with Israel earlier this month, the French news agency AFP reported citing an unnamed security official.
The security official said that Hizbullah is cooperating in the probe led by Lebanese military intelligence. The attack appears to have been “premeditated,” the official told AFP.
Hizbullah told Reuters a day after the attack that it was not involved in the incident.
Rooney, 23, was killed after the convoy he was riding in was fired on by a hostile mob of Lebanese villagers as it traveled to Beirut during what UNIFIL says was a standard run. Three other soldiers were injured in what is being described as an ambush, with one of the soldiers in serious condition. One of the armored vehicles in the convoy heading to Beirut was stopped at an ad-hoc roadblock and surrounded by a hostile mob. After the vehicle was shot at, the driver reportedly lost control and slammed into a shop along the road to Beirut near the southern Lebanese village of Al-Aqbiya.
UNIFIL has operated in Lebanon since 1978 to maintain peace between Lebanon and Israel and was expanded in 2006 at the end of the war between Israel and Hizbullah in southern Lebanon. There has been tension between UNIFIL and Hizbullah in recent months, according to reports.