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Monday, May 31, 1999 Published at 08:35 GMT 09:35 UK


Irish peacekeeper killed in Lebanon

Hizbollah guerillas bury one of their men in southern Lebanon

An Irish soldier serving with the United Nations peacekeeping force in southern Lebanon has been killed by an artillery shell.

A second Irish peacekeeper was injured in the attack in which shells landed on UN positions at Barasheet, UN spokesman Timur Goksel said.

The village lies near the zone occupied by the Israeli army and its proxy militia, the South Lebanon Army (SLA).

A UN inquiry is underway to find out who fired the shells. There are frequent exchanges of artillery fire in the area between Israeli forces and pro-Iranian Hezbollah guerrillas seeking to force them out of Lebanon.

'Attacks on increase'

The dead soldier was named as Private William Kedian, 22, from Co Mayo. He was on his second tour of duty with the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL).

The injured soldier is Private Ronnie Rush, 23, from Co Offaly, who was on his first trip.

Mr Goksel said there had been an increase in artillery attacks on UN positions "by all sides".

UNIFIL says more than 220 members have been killed on duty since the force was established in March 1978. It consists of more than 4,500 troops, including more than 600 from Ireland.

Hezbollah is fighting to eject Israeli soldiers and the SLA from a 15km security zone set up by Israel in 1985 to protect its northern territory from guerrilla attacks.

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