Creating new perspectives since 2009

Lebanon Hezbollah says not linked to accused in peacekeeper killing

June 2, 2023 at 3:14 pm

Fighters of the Lebanese movement Hezbollah [Anwar Amro/AFP/Getty Images]

Lebanon’s Hezbollah, on Friday, denied that five men accused by a military tribunal of killing an Irish UN peacekeeper in 2022 were linked to the armed Shia group, Reuters reports.

A court document filed on Thursday had identified some of the five as members of Hezbollah and allied Movement, Amal, according to a senior Lebanese judicial source.

Hezbollah media official, Mohammad Afif, said the five accused were not members of the group, which controls the part of southern Lebanon where last year’s attack took place, and also denied that the indictment had described them as Hezbollah members.

READ: Lebanon army on high alert following Israeli threats

Private Sean Rooney, 23, was killed on 15 December, in the first fatal attack on UN peacekeepers in Lebanon since 2015.

Afif said Hezbollah had played a big role after the killing in reducing tensions and in local people’s cooperation with the army and judicial investigation.

His comments are the first by a Hezbollah official since Thursday’s reported indictment. The Amal Movement, which is headed by Lebanon’s Parliament Speaker, Nabih Berri, has so far declined to comment.

The judicial source had said evidence was drawn from camera recordings in which the accused refer to themselves as members of Hezbollah. A second judicial source confirmed that camera evidence was mentioned in the 30-page court document.

Hezbollah has previously denied involvement in the killing, calling it an “unintentional incident” that took place solely between the town’s residents and the UNIFIL peacekeeping force.

READ: Lebanon tribunal accuses Hezbollah, Amal members of killing UN peacekeeper – source