Tel Aviv (Jun. 25)
Two Fijian soldiers attached to the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) were shot and killed by Palestinian terrorists and a third was wounded. A UNIFIL spokesman who reported the incident, said UNIFIL has lodged a strong protest with the Palestine Liberation Organization.
The victims were among nine Fijian troops captured by the PLO in a clash near Kana village in south Lebanon after the soldiers stopped a Palestinian at a roadblock. They were shot in the back while trying to escape. The wounded man was later released, UNIFIL said and three others managed to escape.
The two dead men bring to 13 the number of Fijians killed in the course of a year’s service with UNIFIL. The total number of UNIFIL soldiers killed since 1978 now stands at 64. The Fijian unit is due to return home shortly. A farewell concert by the Fijian military band to have been held in Nahariya was cancelled because of the killings.
(In Washington, the State Department condemned the killings as “senseless violence.” David Passage, a Department spokesman, said, in a prepared statement, “To attack members of the United Nations peacekeeping force is totally abhorrent and repulsive and those responsible for this deed bring dishonor upon themselves.” He did not identify who was responsible.)