At least four UN observers have been killed in an Israeli air raid that destroyed their position in southern Lebanon, Lebanese security sources say.
The UNIFIL peacekeeping force in Lebanon confirmed that there were UN casualties but declined to say if any observers had been killed in Tuesday’s incident.
“An air bombardment hit directly a building of UN observers, which is a house and a shelter, in Khiam,” said Milos Strugar, a spokesman of UNIFIL.
“There are casualties,” he added, without specifying their number or the nationalities.
“A rescue team from UNIFIL was sent to this place but they did not succeed for the moment to rescue the people under the rubble.
“There were 14 other Israeli firings close to this position by the Israeli side and the firing continued during the UNIFIL rescue.”
At UN headquarters in New York, UN chief Kofi Annan was asked about the attack and said, “I’m trying to get the details”.
He also said there were 14 other incidents of firing close to this position from the Israeli side on Tuesday afternoon.
“The firing continued even during the rescue operation,” Annan said.
Since Israel launched a massive military offensive against Lebanon and Hizbollah guerrillas July 12, an international civilian employee working with UNIFIL and his wife have been killed in the crossfire between Israeli forces and Hizbollah guerrillas in the southern port city of Tyre.
Five UNIFIL soldiers and one military observer have also been wounded, Strugar said.