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Thursday 2 October 2014

Man suspected of being involved in the abduction and murder of two Irish soldiers faces deportation from US

Brian Byrne

Published 15/07/2014 | 23:12

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Irish troops

A MAN suspected of being involved in the abduction and murder of two Irish soldiers is facing deportation from the United States.

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Lebanese national Mahmoud Bazzi is believed to have played a role in the crime during a UN peacekeeping mission in Lebanon in 1980.

Privates Derek Smallhorne, from Co Dublin, and Thomas Barrett, from Co Cork, were abducted in southern Lebanon in April 1980 by members of the South Lebanon Army.

A third Irish soldier, Killarney-native John O'Mahony, had claimed he was shot and wounded by Mahmoud Bazzi before his comrades were taken.

Both men were discovered shot dead nearby, and their bodies showed signs of torture.

Mr Bazzi (71) moved to the US shortly afterwards and was living in Detroit, where he had recently been working as an ice cream man.

A campaign led by former army comrades and relatives of the men, called 'Justice for ustice for Smallhorne and Barrett' 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.

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