UN peacekeeper from Spain killed in south Lebanon

UN peacekeeper from Spain killed in south Lebanon

Beirut (AFP) - A UN peacekeeper from Spain was killed Wednesday in southern Lebanon, a source at the Spanish embassy said, as the Israeli military shelled border areas after a Hezbollah attack.

"I can confirm that a Spanish soldier was killed in southern Lebanon," the source told AFP.

Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy expressed on Twitter his "great sadness at the death of a Spanish soldier in Lebanon."

Earlier, United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon spokesman Andrea Tenenti said the peacekeepers' commander, Major General Luciano Portolano, was "in close contact with all the parties, urging maximum restraint to prevent an escalation."

UNIFIL has been deployed in south Lebanon since 1978.

Its ranks were reinforced after the 2006 war between Israel and the Shiite militant group Hezbollah that killed 1,200 Lebanese, mostly civilians, and 160 Israelis, mostly soldiers.

The 10,000-strong peacekeeping force, including nearly 600 Spanish soldiers, is composed of troops from 36 countries.

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