U.N. Peacekeeper Killed in Southern Lebanon

U.N. Peacekeeper Killed in Southern Lebanon


U.N. Peacekeeper Killed in Southern Lebanon

A U.N. peacekeeper in southern Lebanon was shot and killed Wednesday night when the armored vehicle he was in came under gunfire in an incident that is under investigation. The peacekeepers, part of a United Nations mission deployed along the Lebanese border with Israel, were not on patrol at the time of the episode, which occurred outside their area of operations in the south. Pvt. Seán Rooney, a member of the Irish battalion, was pronounced dead on arrival at the hospital. Seven other peacekeepers were traveling with him from southern Lebanon to Beirut. Another peacekeeper is in serious condition and two others received minor injuries. Southern Lebanon is a Hezbollah stronghold, but a group spokesman said they had nothing to do with the incident.  

The spokesman, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss details of the attack, said the episode involved local villagers and one of the two UNIFIL peacekeeping vehicles. The U.N. vehicle drove off the main highway as it was heading north and into the village of Al-Aqbiya, south of the coastal city of Sidon, around midnight, he said. Residents stopped the vehicle and questioned the peacekeepers about why they were there, the spokesman said (Al-Aqbiya is outside their patrol area). As the vehicle drew a bigger crowd, tensions rose and some of the residents began hitting the vehicle, he said. The vehicle rammed two residents, wounding them and sending them to the hospital, he said. After the ramming, one man opened fire on the vehicle, killing the peacekeeper.

Israel and Palestinian Territories 

Hamas Issues 'Now or Never' Threat for Prisoner Swap With Israel 

Hamas published a photo on Wednesday of a weapon that allegedly belonged to 2nd Lt. Hadar Goldin, an Israeli soldier killed in the 2014 Gaza War and whose body has been held by the militant group ever since. Hamas declared that there is a limited time frame for a prisoner exchange with Israel, threatening that if the deal doesn't go through soon "this file will be sealed forever." 

Addressing tens of thousands who attended a rally celebrating the 35th anniversary of the militant group, the leader of Hamas in the Gaza strip, Yahya Sinwar, referred to the political changes in Israel, saying that "In 2023 we'll face many challenges due to the rise to power of the fascist right in Israel." 

"Our forces of resistance can overthrow any Israeli government, and we'll flood Israel with thousands of rockets if it makes a stupid move. We have thousands of rockets and millions of fighters ready," Sinwar said, adding that "Hamas is in an open and frontal confrontation with the Zionist enemy, who insists on leading us into a religious war." 


IDF Chief Confirms Israel Behind Strike on Iran Arms Convoy Near Syria-Iraq Border 

IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kohavi confirmed Wednesday that an airstrike in early November on a convoy allegedly carrying Iranian arms near the Syria-Iraq border was carried out by the Israeli Air Force. Kohavi said Israeli intelligence uncovered which truck within the 25-vehicle convoy was carrying weapons from Iran to Lebanon, and “advanced capabilities” allowed the pilots to carry out a precision strike. “We could have not been aware of the Syrian convoy a few weeks ago,” Kohavi told a conference at the Reichman University in Herzliya.  

“We could have not known that it was heading from Iraq to Syria, we could have not known what’s in it and we could have not known that out of the 25 trucks, truck number eight was the one carrying weapons,” he said. “We needed to send pilots to the right place and they had to evade surface-to-air missiles fired at them. They needed to attack, they needed to hit their targets and come back safely and not kill people who shouldn’t be killed. These are very advanced capabilities,” said Kohavi. The strike reportedly left 10 people dead, including an unknown number of Iranians.  

Separately, Israeli and Arab media reports indicated that three IRGC members were killed in an international coalition attack on eastern Syria on Wednesday. The strikes allegedly took place in the vicinity of Deir ez-Zor. There was no official confirmation from Israel or the coalition about these strikes.