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Lebanon releases suspected Hezbollah member accused of killing Irish UNIFIL peacekeeper

Mohamad Ayyad, who is believed to be linked to the paramilitary Hezbollah movement, was charged with the killing of an Irish UNIFIL soldier in southern Lebanon last year.
Peacekeepers of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) attend the repatriation ceremony for Irish soldier Sean Rooney who was killed on a UN patrol, at Beirut international airport on December 18, 2022. - The United Nations peacekeeping force in south Lebanon urged Beirut to ensure a "speedy" investigation into the fatal shooting of an Irish soldier this week. The convoy of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) came under fire near the village of Al-Aqbiya late on December 14, a

BEIRUT — Reports about the release of the main suspect in the killing last year of an Irish peacekeeper in southern Lebanon are raising controversy, as tensions escalate between Israel and Hezbollah along the Lebanon-Israel border.

Lebanon’s military court released on bail Mohamad Ayyad, who had been detained since December 2022 over his involvement in the killing of Pvt. Sean Rooney, the local Nidaa al-Watan paper reported on Wednesday.

Rooney was killed and another seriously injured when two UNIFIL armored vehicles came under small arms fire in the southern village of al-Aqbiya, a Hezbollah stronghold. In June, the first military investigation judge, Fadi Sawan, charged Ayyad with murder, along with four other suspects who remain at large.

Hezbollah has denied any links to the five suspects. The paramilitary group and the Lebanese army have yet to comment on the report.

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