IRA kills 2 policemen in Northern Ireland
Britain to cut off contact with Sinn Fein
June 16, 1997
Web posted at: 11:58 a.m. EDT (1558 GMT)
BELFAST, Northern Ireland (CNN) -- The Irish Republican Army
claimed responsibility for the shooting deaths of two police
officers near Belfast early Monday morning.
The Royal Ulster Constabulary said that the two officers had
been shot dead at close range in Lurgan, 30 miles south of
Belfast, and the gunmen escaped in a car. The car was later
found burning in the town's main Catholic neighborhood.
Britain later said that, in response to those killings, it had broken off contacts with Sinn Fein, the political wing of the outlawed IRA.
The North Armagh brigade of the IRA claimed responsibility
for the attack in a telephone call to a Belfast radio
station. The caller used a recognized code word to
authenticate the claim.
Witnesses to the attack said the gunman shot both officers in
the head as they patrolled on foot in a residential area
behind Lurgan's main police barracks. The two were not
accompanied by British soldiers, as is often the case, and
apparently had no time to defend themselves.
David Trimble, leader of Northern Ireland's main Protestant
party, said he hoped the killings would put an end to "all
the silly false optimism" that peace could be struck with the
"You don't negotiate with the IRA," said Trimble, a Member of
Parliament from the Lurgan area. "You imprison them."
Brid Rodgers, a representative of the moderate Social
Democratic and Labour Party, called the shooting "a very
cowardly attack." The SDLP draws strong support from Northern
Ireland's minority Catholics
The IRA broke an 18-month cease-fire in their campaign
against Britain's rule in Northern Ireland in February 1996,
with a series of bomb attacks in England. The group resumed
attacks inside Northern Ireland in October.
The attack was the first fatal shooting of police officers
this year. In the last three weeks, however, a policewoman was shot in the back in Londonderry, a 1,000-pound bomb was found in West Belfast, and an off-duty policeman was beaten to death in North Belfast.
Related sites: Note: Pages will open in a new browser window
External sites are not endorsed by CNN Interactive.
© 1997 Cable News Network, Inc.
All Rights Reserved.