Beirut TV station firebombed after a satirical sketch mentioned the murder of an Irish soldier

A television station in Beirut was reportedly set on fire after a satirical political program aired a sketch relating to the murder of an Irish soldier.

Local media last week released CCTV images of a group of unidentified men targeting the NewTV studio in the Lebanese capital.

The attack followed the airing of a satirical clip on the channel’s weekly political program and was linked to Hezbollah supporters.

The clip on al-Jadeed’s comedy show Fashet Kheleq related to the attack on the UNIFIL vehicle in south Lebanon and the killing of Irish peacekeeper Sean Rooney.

In the short clip, al-Jadeed TV and actress Joanna Karaky plays a southern Lebanese woman who says, “When UNIFIL peacekeepers first came to southern Lebanon, they took Lebanese women, so the majority of southerners now have blue or green eyes with them blonde hair has hair, with some looking more Italian and British than Lebanese.”

However, according to Arab News, the segment sparked outrage among Hezbollah supporters, who “launched a violent online campaign against NewTV, the station’s news editor Maryam Al-Bassam, and the show’s host Dalia Ahmed.”

Hezbollah supporters claimed the clip “insults the honor of women in southern Lebanon.”

The powerful Supreme Islamic Shiite Council has also criticized the show, accusing it of “targeting the Shia Islamic community… under the guise of satirical shows”.

Hezbollah MP Ibrahim Al-Moussawi called on the authorities to take legal action to ensure all channels respect the law and moral and national obligations.

A prime suspect in the killing of Irish UN peacekeeper Seán Rooney is reportedly a blacksmith, who was arrested after being extradited by Hezbollah.

Pte Rooney was shot dead when his vehicle came under fire in the village of Al-Aqbiya, south of Beirut.

The 24-year-old was a specialist driver with the United National Interim Forces in Lebanon (Unifil).

Lebanese TV channel Al-Jadeed said the main suspect was handed over to Lebanese Armed Forces investigators on December 22.

He is described as hailing from the southern Aadloun region, with Hezbollah reportedly stating that he is not a member of the political and militant group, but a “supporter”.


Private Sean Rooney from Newtowncunningham in Co Donegal

The group quickly distanced itself from any involvement in the attack and said it was cooperating with investigations by Lebanese military intelligence.

In response to questions about the reported arrest, the Defense Forces said: “There are currently three investigations into this incident. As these investigations are ongoing, the Defense Forces have no further comment to make at this time.”

A second soldier, Trooper Shane Kearney, 23, from Killeagh, Co Cork, suffered serious injuries in the same attack while two other peacekeepers sustained non-life threatening injuries.


Funeral Mass by Private Sean Rooney at Holy Family Church, Muirhevnamor. Photo: Aidan Dullaghan/Newspics

Mr Kearney was flown home from Beirut to Dublin last week in a special medical evacuation plane and taken to Beaumont Hospital for further medical treatment.

It had been reported in recent days that Lebanese officials had arrested several suspects in connection with the deadly attack.

Lebanese Army intelligence sources confirmed the arrests and said other suspects are being questioned while the search continues for others suspected of having knowledge of the attack.

Lebanese ambassador to the UK and Ireland, Rami Mortada, also said the investigation was “going in a very promising direction”. Beirut TV station firebombed after a satirical sketch mentioned the murder of an Irish soldier

Fry Electronics Team

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