Irish Peacekeeper Killed in Land Mine Blast; Beirut Bomb Wounds Three
BEIRUT, Lebanon (AP) _ A roadside bomb exploded in southern Lebanon today, killing an Irish officer serving with the United Nations peacekeeping force and wounding two other soldiers, a U.N. spokesman said.
The Irishmen were on a foot patrol on a dirt road between the villages of Taire and Haddata at the time of the 7 a.m. explosion, spokesman Timur Goksel said.
He said the name of the dead officer would not be disclosed until his relatives were notified. The two wounded Irishmen were ″doing well,″ Goksel said.
In Dublin, Irish state radio identified the officer as Lt. Angus Murphy, 25, of Tuam in County Galway.
The roadside bomb was probably triggered by remote control, according to Goksel.
Troops from the 600-strong Irish contingent sealed off the area around the blast and captured two ″heavily armed men with equipment for making roadside bombs on them,″ Goksel said.
One captured gunman was from Haddata and the other from near south Lebanon’s port city of Sidon, Goksel said.
They were turned over to Lebanese police, who later said the two men were Lebanese belonging to the National Resistance, Goksel said.
The National Resistance is an alliance of Syrian-backed leftist and Moslem factions engaged in guerrilla warfare against Israel’s army in southern Lebanon.
The casualties brought the overall toll of the U.N. Interim Force in Lebanon to 127 killed and 190 injured since the 5,800-troop force from nine nations was deployed in Lebanon in 1978.
Last week, a 16-hour gunbattle broke out between the French UNIFIL contingent and Shiite Moslem militiamen. Eighteen French soldiers were wounded and four Shiite militiamen were killed and five injured during the fighting.
In Beirut today, a bomb exploded in an apartment in the Christian sector of the city, setting fire to a five-story building and injuring three tenants, police said.
Police said the bomb in east Beirut contained 15 pounds of TNT. Firefighters brought the fire under control quickly, police said.
It was the latest in a rash of explosions that has left 96 people dead and 540 wounded in the war-divided Lebanese capital in the past 25 days.