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Spain demands UN investigate peacekeeper’s death

Corporal Francisco Toledo was killed during Israel’s response to a Hezbollah missile attack that killed two Israeli soldiers

A Spanish UNIFIL peacekeeper drives an armored vehicle in the Lebanese town of Adaisseh, near the border with Israel, on January 19, 2015. (AFP/Mahmoud Zayyat)
A Spanish UNIFIL peacekeeper drives an armored vehicle in the Lebanese town of Adaisseh, near the border with Israel, on January 19, 2015. (AFP/Mahmoud Zayyat)

Madrid asked the United Nations to probe the death of a Spanish peacekeeper who was killed Wednesday during a exchange of fire between Israel and Hezbollah.

36-year-old Corporal Francisco Javier Soria Toledo from the UN peacekeeping force in southern Lebanon was killed as Israel responded with air strikes and artillery fire to a Hezbollah missile attack on an IDF convoy that killed two soldiers.

Citing Spanish daily El Pais, Israeli media outlet Ynet reported that Spain is requesting an immediate investigation into Toledo’s death by IDF artillery fire.

Spanish Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Garcia-Margallo told reporters he received a phone call from Israel’s ambassador to Spain, offering condolences.

In a statement, Israel’s Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said that he conveyed Israel’s condolences for the death in a conversation with his Spanish counterpart.

The 10,000-strong UNIFIL mission, in place since 2006 to protect a ceasefire between Israel and Hezbollah, said it had observed six rockets fired toward Israel from southern Lebanon and that Israeli forces “returned artillery fire in the same general area.”

It said the precise cause of the peacekeeper’s death was “as yet undetermined” and urged all sides to show “maximum restraint to prevent an escalation”.

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