TEL AVIV (Nov. 15)
Differing accounts were given Wednesday of an altercation between Norwegian soldiers of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon and troops of the Israel-backed South Lebanon Army in which an SLA soldier was fatally wounded.
The confrontation occurred at Ibl-e-Saki village in the eastern sector of the southern Lebanon security zone, where UNIFIL’s Norwegian contingent is headquartered.
The SLA, which has frequently complained of harassment at that point, said one of its patrols was halted at a Norwegian roadblock Wednesday and a quarrel ensued.
Meanwhile, according to the SLA, invectives hurled by both sides escalated into fisticuffs and eventually into a standoff, with the two groups of soldiers pointing their rifles at each other.
A shot was fired and an SLA soldier fell mortally wounded.
The SLA command accused the Norwegians of deliberately opening fire. The UNIFIL command accused the SLA of firing first.
According to the UNIFIL account, the Norwegian soldiers fired three warning shots into the air, and two SLA soldiers opened fire at the Norwegians from their vehicle.
The Norwegians responded by firing into the ground but a bullet ricocheted and hit an SLA soldier in the stomach. He was taken to a hospital, where he died.