Body of Irish UNIFIL peacekeeper killed in Lebanon arrives home

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The body of an Irish United Nations peacekeeper killed in Lebanon was on Monday returned to Ireland with full military honors.

Private Sean Rooney, 23, was killed and three others were wounded on Wednesday after the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) convoy came under fire near the village of al-Aqbiya in the south of the country.

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One of the wounded, Private Shane Kearney, remains in a serious condition in hospital.

UNIFIL has demanded a “speedy” investigation into the attack, the motives of which remain unclear.

UNIFIL acts as a buffer between Lebanon and Israel, neighbors which remain technically at war. The force operates in the south near the border, a stronghold of Iran-backed group Hezbollah.

Hezbollah security chief Wafic Safa has said the killing was “unintentional.”

It is the first death of a UNIFIL member in a violent incident in Lebanon since January 2015, when a Spanish peacekeeper was killed by Israeli fire.

UNIFIL was set up in 1978 to monitor the withdrawal of Israeli forces after they invaded Lebanon in reprisal for a Palestinian attack.

Israel withdrew from south Lebanon in 2000 but fought a devastating 2006 war with Hezbollah and its allies.

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