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Irish troops in Lebanon take shelter amid rocket fire

Irish peacekeepers in South Lebanon were sent to bunkers this morning after rocket fire close to Camp Shamrock.

The 332 Irish peacekeepers working in the area took shelter shortly before 8am, when 37 rockets were fired from a site just 950m away from Camp Shamrock directed towards Israel.

Loud explosions could be heard close to the camp, and troops took up bunker positions wearing body armour and helmets.

Later, Israeli warplanes struck targets near a village close to the blue line, the effective border between Israel and Hezbollah.

Comdt Joe Gleeson said there is always the potential for escalation where they are based

There have been daily exchanges of fire between Israel and Hezbollah in Northern Israel and Southern Lebanon.

Chief of staff at Camp Shamrock in South Lebanon, Commandant Joe Gleeson, said there are three main risks when rockets are fired close to the camp.

“If a rocket drops short , there is an explosive war head in those rockets, and a killing area associated with them, so if they drop short there’s a potential that they land on or close to the camp,” he said.

He added: “Secondly, if there is an Iron Dome interception, that debris has to come down somewhere and if there is a warhead still attached it mightn’t have detonated, and thirdly there is the strong possibility of Israeli counter fire or air strikes”.

332 Irish peacekeepers are working in the area

The increase in hostilities has led to the displacement of tens of thousands of people, with many women and children in the region moving to safer areas.

Israel has said it wants to facilitate the safe return of around 60,000 of its citizens who have move away from the border with Lebanon for safety.

That has created the prospect of more intense military activity along the border, the region where Irish peacekeepers operate.

“There is always the potential for escalation here,” said Commandant Gleeson.

Asked if there was the potential for a wider war he said: “You’d have to say there is, you certainly have the IDF mobilised, it’s hard to say what exactly would trigger (a wider war) but certainly with tensions as they are at the moment the potential is there.”

Watch: Inside Camp Shamrock, the home for Irish troops in Lebanon

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