Three soldiers from Mayo and Sligo killed in a roadside bomb in the Lebanon in 1989 were deliberately targeted in a revenge attack over the abduction of a Lebanese explosives expert, according to newly-declassified State papers.

28-year old Corporal Fintan Heneghan from Ballinrobe, and Sligo soldiers Private  Private Tomas Walsh and Private Mannix Armstrong drove over the massive landmine and died while serving with the United Nations Interim Force in South Lebanon (UNIFIL).

The chief of staff at the Department of Defence was sent to Lebanon after the attack to liaise with United Nations authorities in their investigations.

Government files released as part on the 1989 State Archive reveal that early investigations by the UN were not complete and it had not been possible to establish who was responsible for placing the explosive device or who it was directed at.

The report from the chief of staff stated the "most plausible" explanation was that the three Irish soldiers were deliberately targeted as an act of revenge by supporters of a known Lebanese explosives expert who had been abducted by the Israelis the previous year from within the Irish battalion area.

Extra security measures were brought in after the attack.


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