Private Seán Rooney was on his second tour of peacekeeping duty in Lebanon when he was killed on Wednesday night.

The 24-year-old served with the 119th Battalion, which conducted a six-month tour of peacekeeping from the end of 2021 until earlier this year.

The photograph released by the Defence Forces of the late Private Rooney showed him on St Patrick's Day at Camp 245 – otherwise known as Camp Shamrock – at Bint Jbeil, a town in southern Lebanon close to the Israeli border.

Irish peacekeepers have been deployed in south Lebanon since the late 1970s.

Private Rooney returned from that tour of duty earlier this year, and, after six months back in Ireland, became part of the 121st Battalion that travelled to Lebanon last month.

On Wednesday night, Private Rooney was one of eight Irish soldiers in a two-vehicle convoy travelling from Camp Shamrock to Beirut Airport.

Two soldiers were en route home to Ireland on temporary compassionate leave. What is still unclear is why the vehicles were off the highway and why the soldiers found themselves travelling through a densely populated town at Al-Aqbiya.

The Defence Forces says that current information is that the two vehicles were on the scheduled route to Beirut, when at the town of Al-Aqbiya the vehicles became separated.

Defence Forces spokesperson Commandant Gemma Fagan said that one vehicle was then hemmed in by a large group of people.

The vehicle was denied access moving forward or backwards. The situation escalated quickly to small arms fire.

A team of eight Defence Forces specialists are travelling from Ireland to Lebanon to assist with the investigation to establish the sequence of events that led to Private Seán Rooney’s killing, and the serious wounding of his colleague Trooper Shane Kearney.

A number of videos purporting to show the scene of the attack on the Irish soldiers were posted on social media.

RTÉ Prime Time examined one video and believe it does show the emergency response in the aftermath of the attack.

Other videos, when analysed, tend to suggest they are from the same location, but could not be completely verified. On the videos, at least 12 shots can be heard.

Journalist Hannah McCarthy, who visited Camp Shamrock twice this year, said that low-level attacks and animosity towards peacekeepers had increased, and she said the armed group Hezbollah had been reckless with statements in recent times.

"Peacekeepers have a UN mandate to undertake operations and often do so with Lebanese armed forces, but Hezbollah perpetuates an idea that the peacekeepers should not be by themselves, when they can be and have a mandate to operate that way," Ms McCarthy told Prime Time.

It’s 22 years since the last loss of life in the Irish peacekeeping mission, when four soldiers were killed in a road accident in February 2000.

It’s further back, in May 1999, that the last Irish peacekeeper died violently in Lebanon. Private Billy Kedian was killed by a mortar attack.

Irish peacekeeping in Lebanon goes back to the late 1970s, in a country that endured Civil War and is suffering so much right now.

"Lebanon is a country repeatedly failed by its government, facing one of the worst economic crises, with the majority of the population living in poverty. In villages in the south, there is extra tension in these villages," Ms McCarthy said.

Meanwhile, over 330 Irish peacekeepers continue their peacekeeping duties in south Lebanon.

A small group of the 121st Battalion were with the body of their colleague Private Seán Rooney at a Lebanese hospital, and peacekeepers will remain with his body.