Lebanese and Israeli armies say Rmeish incident caused by bomb

The Lebanese Army’s investigations determined that the blast that hit a U.N. military observers patrol in Rmeish on Saturday was caused by an explosive device planted underground, al-Akhbar newspaper reported on Wednesday.

Israel's military meanwhile said Wednesday it had obtained information that indicated a Hezbollah explosive charge caused the blast.

"According to information available to the (army), the explosion that occurred on March 30... was caused after a UNIFIL patrol drove over a charge that had been previously placed by Hezbollah in the area," it said.

An ongoing investigation by the Lebanese Army has meanwhile found that the three U.N. military observers and the Lebanese interpreter were wounded by a "landmine," a Lebanese judicial official said Wednesday.

"Preliminary results of a Lebanese Army investigation have found that the observers were wounded by a landmine," the official told AFP, adding that the probe was continuing and the source of the mine had yet to be determined.

“The patrol’s members decided to park the two vehicles and get out of them minutes before the explosion, seeing as an Israeli drone was flying at a low altitude over the patrol, which prompted the Lebanese interpreter to suggest to the Australian officer that they return and don’t advance further. However, the officer ordered the members to dismount the vehicles and continue the patrol on foot,” al-Akhbar quoted an informed source as saying, based on preliminary testimonies given by the patrol’s members.

“The Australian and the Lebanese advanced towards the forest, followed by the Norwegian and the Chilean, as the Swiss officer stayed near the two vehicles. Amid the low-altitude hovering of the drone, a blast went off among the four, severely wounding the Chilean and Norwegian officers in the chest, face and eyes, while the injuries of the Australian officer and Lebanese interpreter were minor,” the source added.

The source quoted the Swiss, Australian and Lebanese nationals as saying in their initial testimonies that the Israeli drone had fired a missile at them.

“On the same day, a joint UNIFIL-Lebanese Army patrol headed to the blast site and the preliminary inspection determined that the blast resulted from a drone’s missile. But the field inspection carried out by the army the next day determined that the explosion was caused by an anti-personnel explosive device,” al-Akhbar added.

Source: Naharnet, Agence France Presse

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