Alleged killer of Irish UN soldiers faces deportation from US

Wednesday 16 July 2014 00.12
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Thomas Barrett and Derek Smallhorne were on peacekeeping duty in Lebanon
Thomas Barrett and Derek Smallhorne were on peacekeeping duty in Lebanon
The funeral for Pte Smallhorne in 1980
The funeral for Pte Smallhorne in 1980

A Lebanese man suspected of being involved in the abduction and murder of two Irish soldiers on UN peacekeeping duty in Lebanon in 1980 is facing deportation from the United States. 

Privates Thomas Barrett from Cork and Derek Smallhorne from Dublin were part of a UN convoy taken captive in southern Lebanon in April 1980 by members of the Israeli-backed South Lebanon Army.

A third Irish soldier, John O'Mahony from Killarney, Co Kerry said he was shot and wounded by Mahmoud Bazzi before his two comrades were driven away.

Both men were found shot dead nearby, with their bodies showing signs of torture. 

Mr Bazzi moved to the US shortly afterwards and was living in Detroit.

However, a campaign led by former army comrades and relatives of the men has sought his deportation to Lebanon to face war crimes charges.

In a statement issued to RTÉ News, US authorities said Mr Bazzi was arrested by federal agents at his home in Dearborn in Michigan for "administrative immigration violations".

He will be held in custody pending removal proceedings.