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Incident in Lebanon

The United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) has lodged a strong protest with the Israeli Army over the fatal shooting of a wounded Nepalese soldier Sunday by units of the Israel-backed South Lebanon Army (SLA).

Although the Israel Defense Force was not implicated in the incident, UNIFIL holds it responsible because it arms, supplies and trains the SLA. Maj. Gen. Yossi Peled, commander of the northern sector, promised that the IDF-SLA liaison group would conduct a thorough investigation.

According to UNIFIL spokesman Timor Goksel, the soldier, a member of the Nepalese contingent of UNIFIL, was wounded when an SLA tank and half-track attempted to pass through a check post staffed by Nepalese soldiers. The SLA unit withdrew some 200 meters and then opened fire on the UNIFIL post wounding the soldier who was inside the white-painted building bearing the United Nations emblem.

The soldier was rushed to a hospital in an ambulance bearing the UNIFIL and Red Cross insignia when it came under heavy machinegun fire from a hilltop outpost of the SLA. The wounded man was struck in the neck and pronounced dead on arrival at the hospital.

He was the eighth Nepalese soldier killed on duty with UNIFIL and the 150th UNIFIL fatality since the international peacekeeping force began its duties in south Lebanon in 1978.

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