Ireland

Irish Defence Forces ‘monitoring the situation’ in Middle East

Members of the Defence Forces are monitoring the violence in the Middle East from protected positions (Brian Lawless/PA)
Members of the Defence Forces are monitoring the violence in the Middle East from protected positions (Brian Lawless/PA) Members of the Defence Forces are monitoring the violence in the Middle East from protected positions (Brian Lawless/PA)

Irish Defence Forces personnel across Lebanon, Syria and Israel are “monitoring the situation” from protected positions in the region as violence continues.

Israeli shelling along the Lebanon border on Friday killed one journalist and injured six others and the Israeli military has said that ground troops have been operating inside the Gaza Strip.

Israel’s response to an attack by the Hamas militant group on Saturday has included cutting off food, water and electricity to Gaza.

Irish Budget 2024
Irish Budget 2024 Tanaiste and Minister for Defence Micheal Martin

The United Nations (UN) said it was told by the Israeli military that the approximately 1.1 million people in northern Gaza “should relocate to southern Gaza” within 24 hours, a move Ireland’s deputy premier Micheal Martin called on Israel to rescind.

The Irish Defence Forces have personnel serving in various UN operations across Lebanon, Syria and Israel.

Some 342 of these personnel are currently serving in the United Nations Interim Force In Lebanon (UNIFIL).

They have reported sporadic exchanges of fires in the last 48 hours across the Blue Line between Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) and non-state actors in South Lebanon.

The intensity of these outbreaks has decreased from its height on October 6 and 7.

On several occasions since the commencement of hostilities, the UNIFIL has been taking shelter in protected positions.

The Irish troops of the 122nd Infantry Battalion in UNIFIL went into these protected positions on Friday afternoon and are continuing to monitor the situation.

All Irish soldiers are accounted for and are safe.

There are 116 Irish troops of the 68th Infantry Group serving with the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) who have suspended “non-essential activities”.

The Irish personnel are maintaining a high degree of vigilance and continue to monitor the situation.

The situation in the UNDOF Area of Responsibility (AOR) reportedly remains calm.

The 13 Irish personnel serving as UN Observers with UNTSO in Israel, Lebanon and Syria are maintaining a high level of vigilance and continue to monitor the situation.

They are all safe and well and are complying with UN security precautions.

Mr Martin, who is also the Minister for Defence, has said the department is working with the UN and European colleagues on establishing humanitarian corridors.