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Europe

Two dead in army base shooting

©

Video by Sarah DRURY

Latest update : 2009-03-08

Two soldiers died and four were injured in a shooting at the headquarters of the Royal Engineers, northwest of Belfast. The gunmen were reportedly disguised as pizza delivery men.

AFP - Two military personnel were killed and four people injured in a gun attack Saturday at a British army base in Northern Ireland, a police spokesman said.
   
"Two people were shot dead, both male and military personnel," a spokesman for the Police Service of Northern Ireland said. He added that four others were seriously injured, two of whom were also military personnel.
   
The attack took place at the headquarters of the Royal Engineers in Northern Ireland at Masserene, northwest of Belfast.
   
Some reports suggested that it may have been a drive-by shooting, while others suggested the gunmen entered the barracks. It is thought that between 30 and 40 shots were fired.
   
Democratic Unionist lawmaker Jeffrey Donaldson told BBC television that he understood gunmen armed with machine guns had got into the barracks and may have been disguised as pizza delivery men.
   
"This is a terrible attack. I understand that gunmen with machine guns entered the barracks, the entrance of Masserene barracks at Antrim and opened fire," he said, adding that they entered "possibly in the guise of a pizza delivery van".
   
"This is a terrible reminder of the consequences of terrorism. We've had this in the past and no-one wants to see this happening in Northern Ireland
   
Northern Ireland endured three decades of civil unrest known as the Troubles in which around 3,000 people were killed. The violence largely ended with the signing of the 1998 Good Friday Agreement.
   
A deal was agreed in 2007 in which the mainly Protestant Democratic Unionists, which wants Northern Ireland to stay part of Britain, and Catholic Sinn Fein, which calls for integration into the Republic of Ireland, agreed to form a power-sharing government which has devolved power from London.
   
Paramilitary attacks in Northern Ireland are now relatively rare compared to the heights of the Troubles.
   
But the last 18 months have seen an upsurge in violent activity from republican paramilitaries opposed to the peace process, including more than a dozen unsuccessful murder bids against police officers.
   
Northern Ireland's top policeman Sir Hugh Orde said last week that he had called in specialist support from British security service MI5 and the military to help deal with the rising threat from dissident Republicans.
   
He has said that the threat from dissidents to police officers was high.
   
"We have said consistently that the threat has increased against police officers," he said.
   
"We are very clear -- they are determined to kill police officers going about their normal duty of keeping people safe."

Date created : 2009-03-08

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