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File photo Sam Boal/Photocall Ireland
Barrett and Smallhorne

Man who claimed he killed Irish soldiers arrested in America

Mahmoud Bazzi had claimed he had carried out the killing in revenge for his brother.

A LEBANESE MAN who claimed to have killed two Irish soldiers has been arrested in America.

Mahmoud Bazzi stood in front of Lebanese reporters in 1980 and claimed he had shot Privates Thomas Barrett and Derek Smallhorne. The two were taken captive from a UN convoy in southern Lebanon by the Israeli-backed South Lebanon Army.

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 bodies showing signs of torture.

A US Immigration spokesperson have told RTÉ that Bazzi was arrested on “administrative immigration charges”. He faces being deported to Lebanon.

The spokesperson added that the killings did form part of the investigation into Bazzi, who had begun selling ice cream in Detroit.

Action against 71-year-old Bazzi, who subsequently denied any involvement, has been demanded for 34 years.

Pte Barrett’s daughter Karen told RTÉ’s Morning Ireland that the family was “shocked” and “hopeful”, but were being realistic. She said that the family had done all they can legally and had hoped for a breakthrough.

She said that they felt let down by successive Irish governments.

Read: Silent vigil for two Irish peacekeepers tortured and murdered in Lebanon

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