An Irish soldier with the United Nations peacekeeping force in southern Lebanon was killed Friday by unprovoked gunfire from Israeli-allied militiamen, a U.N. spokesman said.

Timur Goksel, spokesman for the U.N. Interim Force in southern Lebanon, said Pvt. Michael McNeela, 21, of Dundalk, was shot in the chest by machine gun fire from a South Lebanon Army position overlooking an Irish post in the village of Hadatta."Death was instantaneous," said Goksel. "The fire was not provoked."

Lars-Eric Wahlgren, commander of the U.N. force, visited the village later in the day and told reporters: "I condemn the senseless killing of one of my soldiers."