Northern Ireland news

Hezbollah denies involvement in murder of Irish soldier Sean Rooney

Private Sean Rooney was killed in Lebanon (Defence Forces/PA)
John Breslin

Hezbollah, the Lebanese political party and militant group, has denied its members were responsible for last year's murder of Irish soldier Sean Rooney.

The group "had absolutely no relation to the incident", referring to the killing of 24-year-old Private Rooney. 

Five men were charged this week in connection with the death of Mr Rooney, with the charges alleging they are all linked to Hezbollah.

The body of Private Sean Rooney returning home. Hussein Malla/AP)

The UN peacekeeping convoy was attacked near the town of Al-Aqbiya in the south of the country in December. Private Rooney, from Dundalk but with close links to Donegal, died. Trooper Shane Kearney, 22, suffered serious wounds while two other Irish soldiers were also injured.

One of the five charged, Mohamad Ayyad, is in custody. Four others, Ali Khalifeh, Ali Salman, Hussein Salman and Mustafa Salman, are at large.

“We had nothing to do with the incident,” Hezbollah’s chief spokesman Mohammed Afif said, adding a military tribunal judge "is intentionally offending Hezbollah”.

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