Spanish UN soldier killed by Israeli fire on Lebanese border

Peacekeeper was in area where confrontation between Hezbollah and Israel took place

Smoke billows up following Israeli fire in southern Lebanon.
Smoke billows up following Israeli fire in southern Lebanon.KARAMALLAH DAHER (Reuters)

A Spanish soldier working as a United Nations peacekeeper in Lebanon was killed by an Israeli mortar on Wednesday morning, military sources reported.

The Israeli attack was aimed at Hezbollah in retaliation for a prior attack by the Shiite militant group in which two members of the Israeli military died. The soldier, who has been named as 36-year-old Corporal Francisco Javier Soria Toledo of Málaga, was in a position near the village of Ghayar, along the UN Blue Line border area between Lebanon and Israel.

Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy has offered his condolences to the soldier’s family on his Twitter account. Spain has announced it will demand a full investigation into Soria’s death.

The incident took place at 11.28am, around 20 kilometers from Marjayoun, where the Spanish UN contingent of around 500 soldiers is based.

The incident began with a rocket attack on an Israeli convoy in the Israel-occupied region of Shebaa Farms

UN sources said a medical team was dispatched to the area but doctors were unable to save Soria’s life.

Soria, who was married, was a member of the Córdoba 10 mechanical infantry regiment of the Guzmán el Bueno Brigade. He joined the service in 2004 and was on his second mission to Lebanon.

The incident began with a rocket attack on an Israeli convoy in the Israel-occupied region of Shebaa Farms in southern Lebanon. Both Israel and Hezbollah had been exchanging fire for the past 24 hours, Israeli military officials said.

Israeli forces had been dispatched to the border in the north and were ordered to evacuate citizens and close all roads in the area, according to a statement.

The Israeli army has said it will carry out an investigation into what happened.

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