Ireland concerned over slow pace of justice in peacekeeper’s killing in Lebanon

Lebanese Foreign Minister Abdallah Bouhabib, right, shakes hands with Ireland's Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Micheal Martin after their meeting in Beirut, Lebanon, Monday, May 20, 2024. (AP Photo/Hassan Ammar)
Lebanese Foreign Minister Abdallah Bouhabib, right, shakes hands with Ireland's Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Micheal Martin after their meeting in Beirut, Lebanon, Monday, May 20, 2024. (AP Photo/Hassan Ammar)

Ireland’s top diplomat in a visit to Lebanon expresses his concern over the slow progress in criminal proceedings against several Hezbollah-linked Lebanese men charged with the killing of an Irish peacekeeper in 2022.

Micheál Martin, Irish foreign and defense minister, says he was “very, very concerned” about the case. He met with Irish peacekeepers in south Lebanon and with Lebanese Foreign Minister Abdallah Bou Habib and a representative of the Lebanese defense ministry.

Lebanon’s military tribunal last June charged four men with the killing of Pvt. Seán Rooney, 24, of Newtown Cunningham, Ireland, following a half-year probe. Rooney was killed on Dec. 14, 2022.

Only one of the suspects, Mohammed Ayyad, was arrested. However, he was released on bail in November, with officials citing his medical condition. The four others facing charges — Ali Khalifeh, Ali Salman, Hussein Salman, and Mustafa Salman — remain at large.

All five are allegedly linked with the Lebanese terror group Hezbollah. Hezbollah has repeatedly denied any role in the killing.

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