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May 2, 2014

Gerry Adams arrested over 1972 Jean McConville murder

Gerry Adams arrested over 1972 Jean McConville murder

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Friday, May 2, 2014

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Gerry Adams in 2011.
Image: Domer48.

Gerry Adams, the leader of the Irish republican party Sinn Féin, was arrested Wednesday by the Police Service of Northern Ireland as part of an investigation of the 1972 disappearance and murder of Jean McConville, a mother of ten. McConville was taken from her flat in Divis in west Belfast shortly before Christmas of 1972, then shot. The Irish Republican Army (IRA) later admitted to the abduction and killing.

A statement from the police said: “Detectives from the serious crime branch investigating the abduction and murder of Jean McConville in 1972 have arrested a 65-year-old man in Antrim. The suspect is currently being interviewed by detectives at the serious crime suite in Antrim police station.”

Adams has said he is “innocent of any part” of the murder of McConville: “I believe that the killing of Jean McConville and the secret burial of her body was wrong and a grievous injustice to her and her family. Well publicised, malicious allegations have been made against me. I reject these. While I have never disassociated myself from the IRA and I never will, I am innocent of any part in the abduction, killing or burial of Mrs McConville.”

Mary Lou McDonald, vice president of Sinn Féin, said the arrest was politically motivated arguing it was a “concerted and malicious effort to link Gerry Adams to this case for considerable time”. The Police Service of Northern Ireland reject this claim.

The Sinn Féin leader’s arrest follows the release of audio tapes held by Boston College containing oral history from former members of the republican movement including members of the IRA. A number of arrests have been made following the release of the ‘Belfast Project’ tapes.



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February 18, 2013

Northern Ireland police arrest man over Belfast double shooting

Northern Ireland police arrest man over Belfast double shooting

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Monday, February 18, 2013

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The Police Service of Northern Ireland arrested a man on suspicion of attempted murder and threatening to commit murder Saturday after a shooting incident in the Northern Irish capital Belfast Friday.

Two men, one aged 24 and the other 22, were both seriously injured in the incident at Old Park Road in the north of Belfast, which was reported to police about 7:30pm local time Friday. The 24-year-old man, identified by UTV Live as Sean Corbett, had recently departed from a shop and was standing near a vehicle when as many as ten gunshots were fired at him. The 22-year-old victim, who has not been identified, was sitting inside the vehicle and also suffered numerous gunshots wounds.

Corbett was transported to Mater Infirmorum Hospital, where he was subsequently given urgent surgery. The other man, who managed to drive to hospital himself, was also given medical treatment for his wounds. The last reports indicated both men were in stable condition.

North Belfast Area Commander Chief Inspector Andy Freeburn spoke against the shooting, calling it, “unacceptable in our community”. He described the incident as “an utterly reckless attack with up to 40 members of the public, including women and children, in close proximity”, adding: “[W]e are lucky that we are not dealing with many more casualties today.” The suspect is understood to be cooperating with police as they investigate the incident.



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January 20, 2012

Wikinews Shorts: January 20, 2012

Wikinews Shorts: January 20, 2012 – Wikinews, the free news source

Wikinews Shorts: January 20, 2012

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A compilation of brief news reports for Friday, January 20, 2012.

If you believe any of these stories deserves more in-depth coverage, feel free to write a full article on the issues raised.

Dissident Republicans bomb Londonderry

No injuries were suffered when two bombs were exploded in Londonderry, Northern Ireland by Republican dissidents. A coded message was received by the police half an hour before they were detonated in streets around the city’s main shopping centre.

Police Service of Northern Ireland Superintendent Stephen Martin has described the attacks as “cowardly and callous”, and said that the city centre will remain sealed off to allow for the search for other devices and forensic evidence.



Kodak files for bancruptcy

Eastman Kodak Co has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in order to complete its transformation from its traditional wet film business, with which it made its name, into a specialist digital printing company.

The move would allow the company to sell off assets to pay off pension liabilities and creditors.


Republican contender Newt Gingrich refutes open marriage accusations

Newt Gingrich refutes claims by his second wife, Marianne Ginther, that he demanded that they have an open marriage so that he could continue an affair with Callista Bisek, who later became his third wife.

The accusations, aired on ABC News on Thursday, come just before the Republican party’s South Carolina presidential primary. If true, the allegations would mean Gingrich was having an affair whilst pillorying President Bill Clinton over his involvement with Monica Lewinsky.


Dolce & Gabbana make apology over Hong Kong photography ban

Italian luxury goods brand Dolce & Gabbana has issued an apology over its ban on Hong Kong citizens taking photographs of its shopfront in Hong Kong, even when taken from a public sidewalk. The ban enforced by its security guards against locals but not mainland Chinese and foreigners infuriated locals, who have staged a number of protests against the retailer.

Photography from a public place of subjects normally visible from that place is legal in Hong Kong, and the local government has been condemned for not confronting Dolce & Gabbana, leaving things to protesters to bring about the apology.


Magnitude 6.1 earthquake strikes New Zealand, no damage reported

An earthquake of magnitude 6.1 struck South Island, New Zealand yesterday. The epicenter was located off the coast about 204 kilometers west of Invercargill at a depth of 18 kilometers.

The earthquake struck late in the day local time. No damage or injuries were reported and no alerts were issued by the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center. An aftershock measuring 5.2 magnitude hit the area two hours later.

An earthquake measuring 6.3 magnitude hit Christchurch last year, killing over 180 people. There may be as many as 15,000 shocks per year in New Zealand, which is on the “Ring of Fire“.





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October 8, 2010

Bomb attack in Londonderry, Northern Ireland injures two police officers

Bomb attack in Londonderry, Northern Ireland injures two police officers

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Friday, October 8, 2010

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A bomb exploded early on Tuesday morning in Londonderry, Northern Ireland, injuring two police officers. Investigations into the identity of the bombers and their motive are continuing. The Real Irish Republican Army a paramilitary group that aims to bring about a united Ireland, has claimed responsibility.

A branch of the Ulster Bank in Belfast
Image: Ardfern.

The explosion on Culmore Road caused serious damage to nearby buildings, including Da Vinci’s hotel and a branch of the Ulster Bank. A telephone warning was given an hour beforehand and the area, including the hotel, was cleared. The officers, standing near the edge of the exclusion zone, suffered injuries to their necks and ears when they were blown over by the blast.

Chief Superintendent Stephen Martin from the Police Service of Northern Ireland asked for anyone who had seen the Vauxhall Corsa car in which the bomb was hidden before the explosion to come forward. Although the bomb, thought to be over 200lb, was left near the bank, Mr Martin did not think it was the intended target and said that the bomb may have been left because of the presence of police in the area.

The Deputy First Minister of Northern Ireland, Martin McGuinness, called the bombers “Neanderthals” and “conflict junkies”, and added that they were “failing miserably” to destroy the peace process in Northern Ireland. He is attending the Conservative Party conference in Birmingham; the Daily Mail reports he refused to comment on if the attack was to coincide with his absence. The city’s mayor, Colm Eastwood, who was at the scene, said he was “disgusted”, adding “I do not know what these people are hoping to achieve. They say they love their country but they spend time trying to destroy it.”



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June 20, 2010

Bomb left outside police station in Northern Ireland

Bomb left outside police station in Northern Ireland

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Sunday, June 20, 2010

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An explosive device was left inside a van parked outside a local police station in the small village of Aughnacloy, County Tyrone in Northern Ireland. Army experts carried out a controlled explosion and have been examining the vehicle since. The van was left at about 10:00pm local time on Thursday night.

Police from the area have confirmed that around 350 residents in the area were evacuated and spent the night in three community halls. Since the report Aughnacloy is partially open and the A5 road is accessible, although there is little access into Aughnacloy itself.

The alert was raised during a telephone call to a newspaper office in Belfast. The caller used a recognised codeword and informed the newspaper the bomb will be detonated in an hour, which triggered an automatic response from police officers. Democratic Unionist Party councillor Sammy Brush said the evacuation seemed “fairly well organised” and there was “no panic”, but it had to be completed within an hour to ensure the bomb could be safely disarmed and removed.

The bomb is thought to have been left by Dissident Republicans, which have been responsible for other similar attacks on official buildings this year. The bomb was left in an unmarked white Ford Transit van, which witnesses reported had the engine left running. The detonation device was believed to have been triggered, but the 300lb worth of explosives had failed to detonate. Brain Kee, the Aughnacloy PSNI Superintendent said, “If it had detonated it would have caused widespread devastation in the village and it’s very likely that lives would have been lost.”

Tom Elliott, Ulster Unionist Party MLA for Fermanagh and South Tyrone, described the event as “deeply distressing.” He went on to say that “this was an apparently large and viable device, which was planted with just an hour’s warning, is deeply saddening for those who are committed to a peaceful future” and that such incidents were “becoming a familiar feature of life in Northern Ireland once again”. Michelle Gildernew, Sinn Fein MP for Fermanagh and South Tyrone, said those responsible for this act should “seriously reflect on what they are doing” and “[t]heir actions are no part of a campaign to bring about Irish unity and they have little or no popular support”.

A car, thought to have been used for the get-away, has been found burnt out just over the border in the Republic of Ireland. Mr Kee and the Irish Minister for Foreign Affairs Micheál Martin have asked for any witnesses to contact the Gardai or the PSNI immediately.



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January 7, 2010

Northern Ireland loyalist group lays down arms

Northern Ireland loyalist group lays down arms

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Thursday, January 7, 2010

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The Ulster Defense Association (UDA), a paramilitary group in Northern Ireland that wants Northern Ireland to remain in the United Kingdom, said today that it has rid itself of its weapons.

A statement by the group read, “The Ulster Defense Association was formed to defend our communities. We state quite clearly and categorically that this responsibility now rests with the government and its institutions where legitimacy resides.”

UDA spokesperson Frankie Gallagher spoke at a press conference in Belfast, stating that the group regrets the approximately 400 people, primarily Catholic civilians, that they were responsible for the murder of between 1971 and 2001. He added, “But we are determined and are willing to play our full part in ensuring that tragedy of the last 40 years will never happen again.”

The destruction of ammunition and explosives was verified by the Independent International Commission on Decommissioning, stating that other groups have a deadline of February 9 to destroy arms they may still hold, after which they may potentially face imprisonment.

Ireland’s Foreign Affairs Minister, Micheál Martin, said in a statement, “This is a statement of confidence in the political process and in the devolved institutions. Another obstacle to dialogue and partnership has been removed.”

Irish President Mary McAleese said the group’s choice was “a very positive milestone on the journey of peace.”

The other main “loyalist” groups, the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) and Red Hand Commandos (RHC), are reported to have destroyed their arms last June, with the Irish Republican Army (IRA) having destroyed their arms four years ago.

However, two republican splinter groups, the Continuity Irish Republican Army (CIRA) and the Real Irish Republican Army (RIRA), have refused to lay down their arms and have continued to undertake attacks including three murders in March of 2009.

The Real IRA attacked the Massereene Barracks in Antrim, County Antrim on March 7 and killed two British soliders. Three days later, The Continuity IRA claimed responsibility for the murder of Police Service of Northern Ireland officer Stephen Carroll, who was shot by a sniper responding to a call.

There is also concern that the power-sharing government between Sinn Féin and the Democratic Unionist Party may collapse because of disagreements between the parties on the issue of transferring policing and justice powers from London.


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November 22, 2009

Republican groups suspected in gun battle with, failed bombing of, Northern Irish police

Republican groups suspected in gun battle with, failed bombing of, Northern Irish police

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Sunday, November 22, 2009

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The official badge of the Police Service of Northern Ireland.

In two separate incidents police in Northern Ireland have come under attack. Both are believed by authorities to stem from organisations linked to the Irish Republican Army. The two incidents, one an attempted car bombing in Belfast, and the other a shooting in Garrison, County Fermanagh, led to four arrests by Northern Irish Police.

A police convoy in the village of Garrison came under ambush overnight. Three gunmen began shooting in the first time officers have been in a firefight in Northern Ireland since a July riot in Belfast. Police returned fire and four people were arrested.

A separate incident saw a car bomb set off outside the Northern Ireland Policing Board‘s headquarters. The car was driven through the Belfast building’s security barriers and its 180 kilogram bomb was set off, but failed to detonate properly. Instead it partially exploded and the vehicle caught fire. Neither attack injured anyone.

The Republican dissidents seek a united Ireland and have battled to convince Britain to relinquish the Northern territory. After thirty years of warfare and attacks from both sides a 1998 peace deal largely ended the bloodshed. This year, however, violence has been on the increase again starting with the murder of a police officer and two soldiers in two separate March attacks. Since then attacks have been on the rise.

Three days ago the military was called in to defuse another bomb targeting police. “It appears that the dissidents are broadening the scale of their attacks,” said a statement by the Police Board’s Alex Attwood. The board is an independent civilian watchdog charged with overseeing the police.



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October 19, 2009

Listening to you at last: EU plans to tap cell phones

Listening to you at last: EU plans to tap cell phones

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Monday, October 19, 2009

A report accidentally published on the Internet provides insight into a secretive European Union surveillance project designed to monitor its citizens, as reported by Wikileaks earlier this month. Project INDECT aims to mine data from television, internet traffic, cellphone conversations, p2p file sharing and a range of other sources for crime prevention and threat prediction. The €14.68 million project began in January, 2009, and is scheduled to continue for five years under its current mandate.

The INDECT project logo
Image: INDECT website.

INDECT produced the accidentally published report as part of their “Extraction of Information for Crime Prevention by Combining Web Derived Knowledge and Unstructured Data” project, but do not enumerate all potential applications of the search and surveillance technology. Police are discussed as a prime example of users, with Polish and British forces detailed as active project participants. INDECT is funded under the European Commission’s Seventh Framework Programme (FP7), and includes participation from Austria, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Hungary, Poland, Slovakia, Spain, and the United Kingdom.

Testing Project INDECT’s potential usefulness, and the leaked ‘sales-pitch’

Indicated in the initial trial’s report, the scope of data collected is particularly broad; days of television news, radio, newspapers, and recorded telephone conversations are included. Several weeks of content from online sources were agglomerated, including mining Wikipedia for users’ and article subjects’ relations with others, organisations, and in-project movements.

Leaked presentation video for Project INDECT.
Image: European Union, © 2009.

Watermarking of published digital works such as film, audio, or other documents is discussed in the Project INDECT remit; its purpose is to integrate and track this information, its movement within the system and across the Internet. An unreleased promotional video for INDECT located on YouTube is shown to the right. The simplified example of the system in operation shows a file of documents with a visible INDECT-titled cover taken from an office and exchanged in a car park. How the police are alerted to the document theft is unclear in the video; as a “threat”, it would be the INDECT system’s job to predict it.

Throughout the video use of CCTV equipment, facial recognition, number plate reading, and aerial surveillance give friend-or-foe information with an overlaid map to authorities. The police proactively use this information to coordinate locating, pursuing, and capturing the document recipient. The file of documents is retrieved, and the recipient roughly detained.

Conclusions, implications, potential investigative journalism impact

Technology research performed as part of Project INDECT has clear use in countering industrial and international espionage, although the potential use in maintaining any security and predicting leaks is much broader. Quoted in the UK’s Daily Telegraph, Liberty‘s director, Shami Chakrabarti, described a possible future implementation of INDECT as a “sinister step” with “positively chilling” repercussions Europe-wide.

“It is inevitable that the project has a sensitive dimension due to the security focussed goals of the project,” Suresh Manandhar, leader of the University of York researchers involved in the “Work Package 4” INDECT component, responded to Wikinews. “However, it is important to bear in mind that the scientific methods are much more general and has wider applications. The project will most likely have lot of commercial potential. The project has an Ethics board to oversee the project activities. As a responsible scientists [sic] it is of utmost importance to us that we conform to ethical guidelines.”

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Although Wikinews attempted to contact Professor Helen Petrie of York University, the local member of Project INDECT’s Ethics board, no response was forthcoming. The professor’s area of expertise is universal access, and she has authored a variety of papers on web-accessibility for blind and disabled users. A full list of the Ethics board members is unavailable, making their suitability unassessable and distancing them from public accountability.

One potential application of Project INDECT would be implementation and enforcement of the U.K.’s “MoD Manual of Security“. The 2,389-page 2001 version passed to Wikileaks this month — commonly known as JSP-440, and marked “RESTRICTED” — goes into considerable detail on how, as a serious threat, investigative journalists should be monitored, and effectively thwarted; just the scenario the Project INDECT video could be portraying.

When approached by Wikinews about the implications of using INDECT, a representative of the U.K.’s Attorney General declined to comment on legal checks and balances such a system might require. Further U.K. enquiries were eventually referred to the Police Service of Northern Ireland, who have not yet responded.

E.F.F. Europe reacts

Wikinews’ Brian McNeil contacted Eddan Katz, the International Affairs Director for the Electronic Frontier Foundation (E.F.F.). Katz last spoke to Wikinews in early 2008 on copyright, not long after taking his current position with the E.F.F. He was back in Brussels to speak to EU officials, Project INDECT was on his agenda too — having learned of it only two weeks earlier. Katz linked Project INDECT with a September report, NeoConopticon — The EU Security-Industrial Complex, authored by Ben Hayes for the Transnational Institute. The report raises serious questions about the heavy involvement of defence and IT companies in “security research”.

On the record, Katz answered a few questions for Wikinews.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Is this illegal? Is this an invasion of privacy? Spying on citizens?

Eddan Katz When the European Parliament issued the September 5, 2001 report on the American ECHELON system they knew such an infrastructure is in violation of data protection law, undermines the values of privacy and is the first step towards a totalitarian surveillance information society.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Who is making the decisions based on this information, about what?

E.K. What’s concerning to such a large extent is the fact that the projects seem to be agnostic to that question. These are the searching systems and those people that are working on it in these research labs do search technology anyway. […] but its inclusion in a database and its availability to law enforcement and its simultaneity of application that’s so concerning, […] because the people who built it aren’t thinking about those questions, and the social questions, and the political questions, and all this kind of stuff. [… It] seems like it’s intransparent, unaccountable.

The E.U. report Katz refers to was ratified just six days before the September 11 attacks that brought down the twin towers of the World Trade Center. In their analysis of the never-officially-recognised U.S. Echelon spy system it states, “[i]n principle, activities and measures undertaken for the purposes of state security or law enforcement do not fall within the scope of the EC Treaty.” On privacy and data-protection legislation enacted at E.U. level it comments, “[such does] not apply to ‘the processing of data/activities concerning public security, defence, state security (including the economic well-being of the state when the activities relate to state security matters) and the activities of the state in areas of criminal law'”.

Part of the remit in their analysis of Echelon was rumours of ‘commercial abuse’ of intelligence; “[i]f a Member State were to promote the use of an interception system, which was also used for industrial espionage, by allowing its own intelligence service to operate such a system or by giving foreign intelligence services access to its territory for this purpose, it would undoubtedly constitute a breach of EC law […] activities of this kind would be fundamentally at odds with the concept of a common market underpinning the EC Treaty, as it would amount to a distortion of competition”.

Ben Hayes’ NeoConoptiocon report, in a concluding section, “Following the money“, states, “[w]hat is happening in practice is that multinational corporations are using the ESRP [European Seventh Research Programme] to promote their own profit-driven agendas, while the EU is using the programme to further its own security and defence policy objectives. As suggested from the outset of this report, the kind of security described above represents a marriage of unchecked police powers and unbridled capitalism, at the expense of the democratic system.”

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September 8, 2009

Large bomb defused in Northern Ireland

Large bomb defused in Northern Ireland – Wikinews, the free news source

Large bomb defused in Northern Ireland

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Tuesday, September 8, 2009

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A 600 lb bomb which was found in Northern Ireland has been defused by a bomb disposal team.

A map of the British Isles with Northern Ireland in red.

The bomb was found on the side of a road near the village of Forkhill in County Armagh, Northern Ireland, close to the border with the Republic of Ireland. It was defused by an expert bomb disposal team from the Irish Army. The explosives were home-made and weighed 600 lb (270 kg). It is believed that the bomb was planted there by dissident republicans.

The Police Service of Northern Ireland believed that there could have been a “devastating outcome” — and that they were also potentially targets of the bombers. Chief Inspector Sam Cordner said: “The actions of terrorist criminals in planting this device in the Forkhill area put local people and police officers at significant risk.”

Cquote1.svg Their actions were reckless and dangerous in the extreme Cquote2.svg

—Chief Inspector Sam Cordner

“Their actions were reckless and dangerous in the extreme. Their target may have been the police, but they did not care who they killed or injured. It is only through the hard work and professionalism of police officers and their military colleagues that the area has been made safe,” Cordner said.

20 people had to evacuate their homes while the bomb was safely defused. Authorities took the device and will conduct a forensic examination.



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March 10, 2009

Continuity IRA gunmen kill policeman in Northern Ireland

Continuity IRA gunmen kill policeman in Northern Ireland

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Tuesday, March 10, 2009

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Location of County Armagh within Northern Ireland

A police officer has been killed in County Armagh, Northern Ireland by Continuity IRA gunmen a mere 48 hours after two soldiers were killed.

In what is presumed to be an attempt by dissident Republicans to derail the peace process, Pc Stephen Carroll was shot in the head just before 10:00 p.m. on March 9.

The officer, described as an experienced veteran with 23 years of service, was responding to a call for help in the Lismore Manor estate in Craigavon when he was shot. In what is described as a genuine incident, a female member of the public had called for help saying a street gang had broken a window.

A two vehicle patrol was sent to the incident given previous trouble in the area. After standing off for a reasonable period to ensure that there was no ambush, the members of one vehicle got out to deal with the incident, whilst those in the second vehicle provided cover, while providing cover in the second vehicle that Pc Carrol was attacked.

The PSNI, believe that the officer was hit by one of two shots fired by a gunman secreted in scrubland on the estate. There are unconfirmed reports that a second officer has also been injured.

Responsibility for the shooting has been claimed on behalf of the North Armagh Battalion of the Continuity IRA in a coded message to Belfast media.

The shooting has led to a call for unity and calm from a broad spectrum of the community ranging from spokesmen for the Ulster Volunteer Force, who called for the gunmen to be dealt with through the courts, to Sinn Féin were quick to condemn the gunmen and to offer their condolences to the family of the dead officer.

This is the first death of a police officer to sectarian violence in over a decade, and comes after a nine month period in which intelligence indicated that dissidents were aiming to kill a policeman.



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