Sunday, March 8, 2009
The Real IRA has claimed responsibility for a gun attack last night that killed two British soldiers and wounded four others.
The Sunday Tribune received a telephone call, using a known code word, claiming responsibility on behalf of the Real IRA’s South Antrim Brigade. The spokesman defended their actions and said they “…made no apology” for an attack against occupiers and their collaborators.
The latest understanding of events is that the soldiers had ordered pizzas earlier in the evening in Antrim. As four soldiers collected their pizzas at the main gate they, and the delivery drivers, were attacked from a parked vehicle nearby.
As the six lay on the ground the gunmen approached on foot and again shot the injured men, in what has been described as an “execution,” at short range.
The police have recovered a Vauxhall Cavalier believed to have been used in the attack and at least two gunmen and their getaway driver.
Prime minister Gordon Brown has described the attack as “cowardly” and promised that “we will bring these murderers to justice […] No murderer will be able to derail a peace process that has the support of the vast majority of the people of Northern Ireland.”
Former Provisional IRA leader Martin McGuinness and current Deputy First Minister of Northern Ireland said “The people responsible for last night’s incident are clearly signaling that they want to resume or re-start that war […] Well, I deny their right to do that.”
The attack is seen as much an attack on the peace process itself as one against the British Army. Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams reflected this in his statement which described the attack as “…wrong and counter-productive”.
Amongst the wider public the attack has been universally condemned, according to Peter Robinson, and cross denominational vigils and prayer gatherings have been held for the four wounded who are all now at Antrim Area Hospital. They are all believed to be seriously wounded.
The attack is the first successful terrorist attack against security forces in twelve years, with an attempted car bombing and the shooting of police officers having been previously thwarted.
The attacked soldiers were due to deploy to Afghanistan this morning.