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N. Ireland charges two in shooting

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Terror threat increasing
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Police identify men as 26 and 32 years of age but don't name them
  • Separately, car with 400-pound bomb drives through barriers at police HQ in Belfast
  • Device only partially explodes, police say
  • Two British soldiers and police officer were shot dead in March
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(CNN) -- Two men face a court hearing in Northern Ireland on Wednesday after being charged with attempted murder and other counts in connection with what police called a foiled terrorist attack, police announced.

The men are being charged in connection with a shooting incident Saturday in the village of Garrison, about 100 miles west of Belfast, the Police Service of Northern Ireland announced Tuesday.

Police identified the men as 26 and 32 years of age but did not name them. Both were charged with attempted murder and possession of a gun with intent to endanger life. In addition, the 26-year-old has been charged with using a firearm to resist arrest, a police statement said.

The incident in Garrison was one of two on Saturday that police blamed on dissident Irish republicans who remain opposed to the 1998 Good Friday Agreement, which ended decades of political and sectarian violence in the province.

In a second incident a car carrying a 400-pound bomb was driven through barriers at the Policing Board headquarters in Belfast, but the device exploded only partially about half an hour later, police said.

Two men fled from the vehicle after that attempt.

On Saturday PSNI Chief Constable Matt Baggott would not identify the target. Police had fired two "warning shots," he said but would not say whether officers or the suspects fired first.

Northern Ireland's Independent Monitoring Commission reported earlier this month that dissident paramilitary activity was "markedly higher" than at any time since it was set up in 2003.

Two British soldiers and a police officer were shot dead in March, raising fears that the province could be plunged back into the violence that left about 3,600 people dead over the course of three decades.

But the province has mostly remained calm, a fact the commission attributed to the "robustness" of the peace process.

The commission reports twice a year on paramilitary violence in the province, which dissident republicans want to break away from Britain and become part of the Republic of Ireland.