Spanish FM says soldier killed in Lebanon in "known" zone

Spanish FM says soldier killed in Lebanon in "known" zone
# 30 January 2015 02:16 (UTC +04:00)

Baku-APA. Spanish Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Garcia Margallo on Thursday said the Spanish solider supposedly killed by Israeli fire in Lebanon on Wednesday was in an area occupied by UN troops which was "perfectly known and defined", APA reports quoting Xinhua.

Corporal Francisco Javier Soria Toledo, 36, who was part of the Spanish UN contingent of around 500 peace-keeping troops, was killed near the village of Ghayar, 20 km from Marjayoun, where the Spanish troops are based.

He is thought to have been killed as Israeli mortars responded to an attack by Hezbollah, which had previously taken the lives of two Israeli troops.

"It seems probable, unless it is shown to be otherwise, that the fire was Israeli," said Spain's Defense Minister, who was speaking at his arrival at a meeting of EU foreign ministers.

He added that Israeli fire had fallen into an area known to be occupied by UN troops.

"The 30 grenades which fell did so into the 'blue zone,' in the demarcation zone. Our fallen compatriot was occupying a fixed position there," said Garcia Margallo.

The minister added that an investigation was underway and that "when the results of that investigation are known, it will be the moment to decide, if, when and from whom we have to demand responsibility, but we are going to continue," he added.

Garcia Margallo said he had "spoken personally" to Israeli Foreign Affairs Minister Ze'ev Elkin and asked for "maximum collaboration in clearing up the events."

"We have to let the investigation advance and then reach conclusions which have solid foundations and proof," he said.

Garcia Margallo admitted that the peace-keepers were working in an "area of risk, as any peacekeeping operation needs an enormous effort."

"I want to remind people that Spain is working in operations with 130,000 men and women to try and keep stability and peace, which was what our compatriot was trying to do when he was killed," he added.

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