An Irish peacekeeping soldier was killed in Lebanon last night.
The soldier, whose identity has not yet been released, was part of a group who had just left the barracks to begin Christmas leave.
The peacekeeper died and three others were injured, one very seriously, following an incident in which they came under fire while on active duty.
A convoy of two armoured utility vehicles (AUVs) carrying eight personnel travelling to Beirut came under small arms fire.
Each AUV was carrying four members and it is understood the vehicles ended up on unauthorised routes in the area.
The convoy is understood the had entered an area controlled by Hezbollah.
One AUV managed to escape, but the other overturned. Two soldiers suffered bullet wounds – the deceased and another left with very serious injuries, but who is expected to survive – while two others were injured when the vehicle turned over.
The Irish Army said this morning that at around 9.15pm Irish time last night, an incident took place involving members of 121st Infantry Battalion, UNIFIL (United Nations Interim Force In Lebanon).
“It is with deep regret that Óglaigh na hÉireann can confirm the death of one of our peacekeepers in a serious incident in Lebanon last night,” a statement said.
The names of personnel are not being released by the Defence Forces at this time, but the families of those involved have been informed.
President Michael D Higgins, Supreme Commander of the Defence Forces, paid tribute to the soldier.