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Irish troops checking for mines in South Lebanon. Irish Defence Forces

Irish army peacekeepers in South Lebanon rescue journalists after suspected Israeli bombing

The incident on Monday the hit a press convoy near Alma al-Shaab in southern Lebanon.

IRISH TROOPS WERE dispatched to save a group of journalists who came under fire in an alleged Israeli strike in south lebanon, The Journal has learned.

The incident on Monday hit a press convoy near Alma al-Shaab in southern Lebanon

Around a dozen journalists from several media outlets were on a tour to inspect damage from Israeli bombardments and had been providing coverage from the border town of Yarun when the strikes hit.

Local authorities have accused Israel of being behind the strikes. The Israeli army had said it was looking into the circumstance of the strike.

Al Jazeera said its photographer Issam Mawasi was “lightly wounded as a result of Israeli bombing”.

“Al Jazeera’s broadcast vehicle was also damaged during the attack. The strike occurred as a group of journalists toured the area,” a report on the Al Jazeera website said.

Footage of the incident shared on social media showed several damaged media vehicles. 

The bombing was in the Irish area of operation and close to their main base Camp Shamrock in At-Tiri and the outpost Camp 6-52 on the border. More than 340 Irish troops are deployed as part of the United Nations peacekeeping mission, known as UNIFIL.

Sources have said that the Irish troops responded to the incident and set up a security operation around the site of the bombing. 

They aided the injured and helped the journalists to leave the area safely – while Lebanese Armed Forces brought in trucks to tow the damaged vehicles away. 

It is the latest incident in a major increase in hostilities. Irish troops have seen a massive spike in artillery between Hezbollah militants and Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) soldiers. 

Sources have said that attacks by Hezbollah are focused around targets associated with the IDF but that civilians have been injured also.

Rockets fired by Hezbollah have also fallen short hitting the UNIFIL Headquarters at Naqoura inside Lebanon where around 10 Irish troops are stationed. 

On 13 October, Reuters journalist Issam Abdallah was killed and six other journalists from AFP, Al Jazeera and Reuters were wounded while covering the cross-border fighting in southern Lebanon.

Lebanese authorities have accused Israel of being behind the strikes. The Israeli army had said it was looking into the circumstance of the fatal strike.

smoke-rises-from-an-israeli-airstrike-left-and-artillery-shelling-right-on-the-outskirts-of-aita-al-shaab-a-lebanese-border-village-with-israel-in-south-lebanon-monday-nov-13-2023-israeli-tr Smoke rises from an Israeli airstrike, left, and artillery shelling, right, on the outskirts of Aita al-Shaab, a Lebanese border village with Israel in south Lebanon on Monday. Alamy Stock Photo Alamy Stock Photo

Yarun mayor Ali Qassem Tahfah has said two successive Israeli strikes on Monday “targeted the group of journalists,” hitting several metres from the teams’ vehicles and causing damage.

Lebanon’s official National News Agency also said two Israeli strikes “targeted a media team” who were working in Yarun.

At least 87 people have been killed in Lebanon since hostilities began: more than 60 Hezbollah fighters, 12 other combatants including from Palestinian groups, and 11 civilians.

Cross-border violence since 7 October has killed nine people in northern Israel including six soldiers, according to official figures.

Another seven Hezbollah fighters have been killed in Syria in strikes attributed to Israel.

The Committee to Protect Journalists said on Friday that at least 40 journalists and media workers have been killed during the Israel-Hamas conflict – 35 Palestinian, four Israeli and one Lebanese.

With reporting from © AFP 2023.

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