A Lebanese military tribunal has officially accused five individuals affiliated with the Hezbollah and Amal Movement of the murder of an Irish U.N. peacekeeper in 2022. Private Sean Rooney, aged 23, lost his life on December 15, 2022, in an attack that marked the first fatal assault on U.N. peacekeepers near the town of al-Aqbiya in southern Lebanon since 2015.
The investigation incorporated eyewitness testimonies, along with audio recordings and video footage from surveillance cameras. According to some of the recorded exchanges during the confrontation, the gunmen allegedly identified themselves as members of Hezbollah to the peacekeepers.
Of the five individuals indicted, one of them, Mohamad Ayyad, is currently under the custody of Lebanese authorities. The other four individuals, Ali Khalifeh, Ali Salman, Hussein Salman, and Mustafa Salman, who also face charges, remain at large. The court documents filed on June 1st explicitly identify them as members of Hezbollah. It should be noted that the accusation carries a potential death sentence.
The court document reportedly cites evidence derived from camera recordings where the accused individuals refer to themselves as Hezbollah members. However, Hezbollah has officially denied any involvement in the killing, describing it as an "unintentional incident" that solely transpired between the town's residents and the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL).