• July 12, 2015


The Irish government has welcomed the decision last month of a Military Tribunal in Lebanon to start hearing the case of Mahmoud Bazzi who is alleged to have been responsible for the murder of two soldiers of the UN Irish contingent to UNIFIL in that country.

On the 18th of April, 1980, Private Thomas Barrett and Private Derek Smallhorne were murdered after being abducted by members of the South Lebanon Army an Israeli proxy militia which operated in the southern border area. Another Irish soldier, Private John O’Mahony was seriously injured in the same incident in. All three were personnel serving as part of the UN peacekeeping with the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL).

Near the village of At-Tiri, a convoy, which included the three Irish soldiers, other military personnel and two journalists, was stopped and the group were taken prisoner. The Irish soldiers were disarmed and separated from the rest of the group. Private O’Mahony was shot and seriously injured at the spot whilst Privates Barrett and Smallhorne were abducted and murdered. There bodies when recovered showed signs of torture.

Bazzi subsequently left Lebanon and has lived in the United States for many years a documentary last year by the Detroit Free Press included footage from Lebanon TV of Bazzi taking credit for the killings. He was subsequently deported from the US on the grounds that he had made a false passport application.

Almost fifty Irish troops have died whilst serving with the UN in Lebanon. Some years ago the Celtic League protested to the Israeli embassies in both Dublin and London about the hostility shown by both its forces and that of its proxy SLA towards the UNIFIL forces.

Government papers released three years ago show that the then Taoiseach, Charles Haughey, became so concerned about the hostility shown by Israel towards Irish UN troops that in 1982 he privately asked the United States government (via the US Ambassador to Dublin) to get them to apply pressure to the Israelis. Haughey’s efforts were to no avail and deaths continued to occur – attributable to all sides in that conflict.

Irelands Defence Minister Simon Coveney has issued a statement about the commencing of proceedings and this can be found on the Department of Defence web site at this link:


Link to Irish Independent article:


This link at Irish Central has a photograph of Bazzi making his admission on Lebanese TV:


This link contains a list of soldiers killed whilst undertaking the UNIFIL mandate:


J B Moffatt (Mr)

Director of Information
Celtic League



The Celtic League was established in 1961and has branches in the six Celtic Countries. It works to promote cooperation between these countries and campaigns on a broad range of political, cultural and environmental matters. It highlights human rights abuse, monitors all military activity and focuses on socio-economic issues


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