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An Irish soldier greeted by family members at Dublin Airport today. Irish Defence Forces

Irish troops arrive home from Lebanon deployment as UNIFIL confirms attack on peacekeepers

The soldiers from the 122nd Infantry Battalion had a busy time in recent weeks during which Israeli forces traded fire with Hezbollah militants in the area.

MORE THAN 200 Irish troops have arrived back from south Lebanon following their six month deployment to the war torn region – it comes as news that UNIFIL troops were targeted by Israeli fire this morning in an area near the Irish base.

The troops involved in the south Lebanon incident are not members of the Irish force in the area. 

The soldiers from the 122nd Infantry Battalion had a busy time in recent weeks during which Israeli forces traded fire with Hezbollah militants in the area. 

The troops, led by Lieutenant Colonel Cathal Keohane arrived into Dublin Airport this morning. 

While the soldiers are from across the Army and Air Corps, the majority of the 122nd Infantry Battalion’s personnel are drawn from the 12th Infantry Battalion based in Sarsfield Barracks, Limerick City.

The personnel have been replaced by a fresh contingent of more than 300 Irish Defence Forces members led by Lt Col Stephen MacEoin.

UNIFIL is a United Nations peacekeeping force of multiple countries deployed to monitor the frontier between south Lebanon and northern Israel – this is known as the Blue Line. 

Private Seán Rooney, 24, was the last Irish soldier to be killed on duty with UNIFIL in December of last year – a number of Hezbollah associated fighters were arrested for his murder. 

The Irish are based in Camp Shamrock in the hills above At Tiri and at a second location, dubbed Outpost 6-52 closer to the Israeli border – there is also a small detachment stationed at UNIFIL headquarters at Naqoura on the coast. There have been several incidents of Hezbollah fired rockets falling short of their targets in Israel. 

There have also been several incidents of attacks by Israel in the area causing Irish and other troops to take shelter during the engagements. 

Image 26 An Irish soldier is greeted by his family at Dublin Airport. Irish Defence Forces Irish Defence Forces

This morning UNIFIL announced that peacekeepers on patrol in Ayataroun came under attack from Israeli Defence Froces gunfire. No one was injured and the Irish Defence Forces have confirmed that no Irish soldiers were involved. 

In a statement UNIFIL said: “This attack on peacekeepers, dedicated to reducing tensions & restoring stability in south Lebanon, is deeply troubling. We condemn this act & underscore the parties’ responsibility to safeguard peacekeepers, preventing unnecessary risks to those striving to establish stability.

“We strongly remind the parties of their obligations to protect peacekeepers and avoid putting the men and women who are working to restore stability at risk.”

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