3 UN military observers, a Lebanese interpreter wounded in Israeli strike

AP , Saturday 30 Mar 2024

Three United Nations military observers and a Lebanese interpreter were wounded Saturday while patrolling the southern Lebanese border after a shell exploded near them, the U.N. peacekeeping mission in Lebanon said.

FILE PHOTO: UN peacekeepers hold their flag, as they observe Israeli excavators attempt to destroy tunnels built by Hezbollah, near the southern Lebanese-Israeli border village of Mays al-Jabal, Lebanon on Dec. 13, 2019. AP


The military observers are part of the United Nations Truce Supervision Organization, which supports the U.N. peacekeeping mission in southern Lebanon, UNIFIL.

Local Lebanese media, citing security officials, said an Israeli drone strike targeted the observers in the southern village of Wadi Katmoun near the border town of Rmeich. Hezbollah-run television station Al-Manar said the drone strike wounded three officers from Australia, Chile, and Norway, as well as a Lebanese interpreter.

They have been evacuated for medical treatment, and an investigation into the origin of the explosion is underway.

UNIFIL spokesperson Andrea Tenenti said they are “investigating the origin of the explosion.”

“The targeting of peacekeepers is unacceptable,” Tenenti told The Associated Press. “We repeat our call for all actors to cease the current heavy exchanges of fire before more people are unnecessarily hurt.”

Lebanese caretaker Prime Minister Najib Mikat condemned the incident in a statement.

UNIFIL was created to oversee the withdrawal of Israeli troops from southern Lebanon after Israel’s 1978 invasion. The U.N. expanded its mission following the 2006 war between Israel and Hezbollah, allowing peacekeepers to deploy along the Israeli border to help the Lebanese military extend its authority into the country’s south for the first time in decades.

The blast came as clashes between the Israeli military and Hezbollah escalated in recent weeks. Both sides have been exchanging fire since the Israeli war on Gaza broke out, propelling concerns that the near-daily clashes along the border could escalate into a full-scale war.

* This story has been edited by Ahram online.

Short link: