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Author Topic: 2 British soldiers killed in N. Ireland gun ambush  (Read 716 times)

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Offline The OverlordTopic starter

2 British soldiers killed in N. Ireland gun ambush
« on: March 08, 2009, 08:02:48 AM »
First off all let me say I'm surprised to see this. I don't live there, and based on what I've not been seeing in the news, I was under the impression that Northern Ireland has been settled down for years.

Apparently not. What I want to know is how the hell did pizza delivery guys get into the middle of this?  :-\


http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090308/ap_on_re_eu/eu_northern_ireland

Quote
BELFAST, Northern Ireland Suspected IRA dissidents opened fire on British troops and pizza delivery men outside a Northern Ireland army base, killing two soldiers and wounding four other people. Police said Sunday the attackers fired on their victims again as they lay wounded on the ground.

Saturday night's attack at the entrance to Massereene army barracks in Antrim, west of Belfast, was the first killing of British troops in Northern Ireland since 1997. Its callousness, in targeting soldiers and civilians alike, appeared calculated to inflame community tensions and undermine Northern Ireland's Catholic-Protestant administration.

"The whole country is shocked and outraged at the evil and cowardly attack," British Prime Minister Gordon Brown said in London. "I assure you that we will bring these murderers to justice. No murderer will be able to derail a peace process that has the support of the people of Northern Ireland."

In Dublin, the Irish government said virtually nobody in either part of Ireland wanted to rekindle a conflict that left more than 3,700 dead. Leaders pledged greater security cooperation with British security forces in the north to catch and imprison the dissidents, who are strongest along the Irish border.

"Violence has been utterly rejected by the people of this island, both north and south," said Irish Prime Minister Brian Cowen. "A tiny group of evil people cannot, and will not, undermine the will of the people of Ireland to live in peace together. "

Police Chief Superintendent Derek Williamson, who is leading the hunt for the killers, said two men armed with assault rifles both opened fire from a car on a group of four soldiers taking delivery of food from two Domino's Pizza drivers. He said it wasn't clear whether all six were hit at that point, but he said at least one gunman then got out of the attackers' vehicle and shot the victims again at close range.

Williamson said the two dead men were army engineers in their early 20s who were about to be deployed to Afghanistan.

"It's clear from what we know at this stage that the terrorists not only wanted to kill soldiers who were there last night but also tried to kill those two pizza delivery men. That indicates to me the ruthlessness of this attack," Williamson said.

Police later found the attackers' suspected getaway vehicle abandoned in the nearby town of Randalstown. No arrests were reported.

Politicians from both the British Protestant majority and Irish Catholic minority blamed Irish Republican Army dissidents, although none of the IRA splinter groups claimed responsibility.

Both sides vowed that the attack would not undermine their 22-month-old coalition, the central accomplishment of the Good Friday peace accord. That U.S.-brokered 1998 pact sought to end three decades of bloodshed over the British territory.

First Minister Peter Robinson, Protestant leader of the coalition, canceled his planned departure Sunday for a 10-day trip to the United States, saying he has to promote stability. He urged Protestant extremists not to retaliate against the Catholic community.

Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams, whose IRA-linked party represents most Catholics in Northern Ireland, criticized the dissidents as merchants of doom who wanted to turn the clock back. "Their intention is to bring British soldiers back on to the streets," he said in a statement.

Police forensic officers in surgical-style masks and white boiler suits combed the scene of the shooting Sunday.

The Massereene barracks is the headquarters for the Northern Ireland regiment of the army's Corps of Royal Engineers. The regiment provides technical assistance to other army units, including communications and construction expertise, and scores of its members are currently deployed in Afghanistan.

IRA dissidents opposed to the IRA's 1997 cease-fire and the wider peace process have tried repeatedly to kill British security personnel. The dissidents have wounded several police officers in 15 gun, bomb and rocket attacks since November 2007.

However this was the first successful attack on a British military base in more than a decade. More than 4,000 British troops continue to be housed in 10 bases in Northern Ireland, but since July 2007 they have been restricted from playing any role in the province's security and are rarely seen in uniform in public.

The gunmen's willingness to hit delivery men suggested that dissidents were following through on recent warnings to target civilians who conduct business with the army. For decades the IRA reserved the right to kill anyone who worked or provided supplies for the police and army and their list of victims included gas station managers, cooks and caterers, construction workers and building materials suppliers.

The IRA dissidents' last fatal victim, in 2002, was a Protestant construction worker hired to help modernize a derelict British army base. He was killed by a booby-trapped lunch box.

The last Northern Ireland killing of a soldier happened in February 1997, when an IRA sniper killed a soldier as he chatted to a motorist at a vehicle checkpoint. The outlawed IRA called a cease-fire five months later.

The IRA killed nearly 1,800 people from 1970 to 1997 in a failed effort to force Northern Ireland out of the United Kingdom and into the Republic of Ireland. The IRA disarmed and renounced violence in 2005, but splinter groups using a wide range of labels have tried to continue the campaign.


Offline Zakharra

Re: 2 British soldiers killed in N. Ireland gun ambush
« Reply #1 on: March 08, 2009, 10:28:50 AM »
 Man... Talk about being stupid. No one on either side wants that conflict to continue.

Offline HairyHeretic

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Re: 2 British soldiers killed in N. Ireland gun ambush
« Reply #2 on: March 08, 2009, 10:46:15 AM »
There's a small number of dissident republicans .. I can't remember what version of IRA they're calling themselves (Real IRA last I remember) that never really accepted that everyone else wanted peace when the ceasefires went through.

I suspect they're going to find themselves having problems in both sides of the law if they think they're going to kick things off again.

Offline Zakharra

Re: 2 British soldiers killed in N. Ireland gun ambush
« Reply #3 on: March 08, 2009, 02:21:43 PM »
 *nod* The old IRA recognized they were not helping their cause by killing people.

Offline HairyHeretic

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Re: 2 British soldiers killed in N. Ireland gun ambush
« Reply #4 on: March 08, 2009, 03:01:03 PM »
No, they recognised that they weren't going to succeed. They were not going to force Northern Ireland into being part of a united Ireland, when that was not the will of the majority of the people. It might still come to pass through political means, but not through violence. Even then, I doubt it will.

Offline Zakharra

Re: 2 British soldiers killed in N. Ireland gun ambush
« Reply #5 on: March 08, 2009, 04:01:26 PM »
 *nod* N. Ireland is tied closely to England now economically. As well as populationwise.

Offline HairyHeretic

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Re: 2 British soldiers killed in N. Ireland gun ambush
« Reply #6 on: March 08, 2009, 04:09:20 PM »
*chuckles* I spent 20 years growing up in Norn Iron. I'd like to think I'm reasonably familiar with the situation there. The ties are both to Ireland and the Uk, and with the EU the two aren't really that different any more.

Offline Zakharra

Re: 2 British soldiers killed in N. Ireland gun ambush
« Reply #7 on: March 08, 2009, 04:51:29 PM »
 Ah, I'm looking at is from an admittedly foreign aspect. Which can be wrong at times.  :)

Offline HairyHeretic

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Re: 2 British soldiers killed in N. Ireland gun ambush
« Reply #8 on: March 08, 2009, 04:55:00 PM »
Oh, I'm quite aware of that. First time my uncle brought his wife over from Canada, her parents thought she was heading for a warzone.