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Deportation of man suspected of killing Irish soldiers "an important step"

Mahmoud Bazzi will be deported from the US to Lebanon, where it is hoped he will face justice.

Mahmoud Bazzi
Mahmoud Bazzi
Image: AP/Detroit Free Press

THE DEPORTATION OF a Lebanese man suspected of killing two Irish UN peacekeepers has been welcomed by the Defence Minister.

Simon Coveney says that the deportation of Mahmoud Bazzi from the US is “an important step” in the process of justice.

Privates Derek Smallhorne and Thomas Barrett were killed by the South Lebanon Army in an attack in which another Irish soldier was also injured.

The two men were also tortured when captured by an SLA unit that had stopped a UN convoy in war-torn Lebanon near the Israeli border. Bazzi stood in front of Lebanese reporters in 1980 and claimed he had shot Privates Barrett and Smallhorne.

Bazzi had claimed the killing was in revenge for his brother, who was killed by UN troops. A third Irish soldier, John O’Mahony, said that he was shot and wounded. Both Barrett and Smallhorne were found shot dead nearby, with their bodies showing signs of torture.

Source: Robert McAney/YouTube

Bazzi is due to be deported back to Lebanon for visa violations and has reportedly asked to avoid flying through Europe.

The US government says that Bazzi was not honest about how he entered the country when he received asylum in 1994 and entered the country allegedly on someone else’s passport.

In a statement today, Simon Coveney said that he welcomed the development and hoped it would help bring justice.

“This is an important step in the process to bring to Justice the alleged perpetrator of what was an atrocious crime, the torture and murder of two innocent Irish peacekeepers. I am following developments in this case closely and officials at the Irish embassies in Washington and in Cairo, which is accredited to Lebanon, are monitoring developments.

“I would like to assure the families that I and the Irish Government will continue to do everything possible to pursue justice for both men who lost their lives in the line of peacekeeping duty.”

Read: Man suspected of killing two Irish soldiers in Lebanon to be deported from US

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