UPDATED: Senior Hezbollah official says ‘unintentional incident’ led to Irish soldier death, party not involved

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BEIRUT, Dec 15 (Reuters) – A senior Hezbollah official on Thursday said an “unintentional incident” had led to the death of an Irish soldier on a U.N. peacekeeping mission in southern Lebanon the previous evening, saying the armed group was not involved.

Wafiq Safa told Reuters his party offered its condolences “after the unintentional incident that took place between the residents of al-Aqbieh and individuals from the Irish unit,” and urged the party not be “inserted” into the incident.

An Irish soldier was killed on a U.N. peackeeping mission late on Wednesday when a convoy of two armoured utility vehicles carrying eight personnel travelling to Beirut came under small arms fire, Ireland’s defence forces said in a statement.

Another member of the United Nations Interim Forces in Lebanon (UNIFIL) is in a serious condition having undergone surgery following the incident, the statement said. Two other soldiers are being treated for minor injuries.

“It is with deep regret that Óglaigh na hÉireann (the Irish defence forces) can confirm the death of one of our peacekeepers in a serious incident in Lebanon last night,” the defence forces said.

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