The incident occurred during a brief exchange of hostilities between Lebanese group Hezbollah and the IDF in a disputed area along the Israeli-Lebanese border. Following a Hezbollah attack that killed two Israeli soldiers, the IDF shelled the border area on January 28. Spanish United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) soldier Javier Soria Toledo, 36, was killed in the attack.
Citing a confidential military report, Spanish newspaper El Pais revealed that Toledo’s post was deliberately targeted by Israeli military. The report drew on testimonies from other UN peacekeepers clearly indicating that the IDF had changed the trajectory of artillery fire so as to target the UNIFIL posts in Southern Lebanon.
“Every time, they [IDF] corrected the trajectory from Majidieh to the 4-28,” Corporal Ivan Lopez Sanchez reportedly said to military investigators. Majidieh is a town close to the disputed Shebaa Farms and the 4-28 are the coordinates of Toledo’s post.
Sergeant Julio Xavier Garcia, another UN peacekeeper, said that the Israeli military “corrected the trajectory towards the position” after shells initially fell about 550 yards North of the UNIFIL post. A third soldier also corroborated the statements, saying that the target of the Israeli shelling was the UN’s main watchtower.
According to the report, Israel had warned UN peacekeepers at approximately 11:40 AM not to venture out, without providing any explanations or additional details. The IDF proceeded to fire 120 artillery shells, 90 mortar grenades and five projectiles between 11:48 AM and 1:43 PM in the same area.
Israel and Spain agreed to launch a joint investigation into Corporal Toledo’s death after the attacks. The 10,000-strong UNIFIL troops consist of around 600 Spanish soldiers, as well as soldiers from 35 other nations.