Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 10 July 2014

Dissident Real IRA claims responsibility for army barracks attack

A police officer patrols outside the Massereene army barracks in Antrim, west of Belfast, Northern Ireland, Sunday, March, 8, 2009 after two British soldiers were shot to death and four other people wounded in a drive-by ambush Saturday that politicians blamed on IRA dissidents. Suspected IRA dissidents who opened fire on British soldiers and pizza delivery men outside an army base shot their victims again as they lay wounded on the ground, police said Sunday. Two soldiers died and four other people, including two men delivering pizzas, remained hospitalized with serious wounds following Saturday night's attack at the entrance to Massereene army barracks in Antrim, west of Belfast. (AP Photo/Peter Morrison)

The Real IRA has claimed responsibility for a gun attack in Northern Ireland that left two British soldiers dead, according to a newspaper report.

The Sunday Tribune newspaper in Dublin has reportedly been given a recognised codeword during a phone call from the South Antrim Brigade of the Real IRA.

>>More on the attack and reaction

Meanwhile, one of the pizza delivery men wounded in the shooting was named locally as Anthony Watson, 19, who lived in the Antrim area.

His condition in hospital is described as "serious". The condition of the second man, a 32-year-old Pole, is critical. Both worked for Domino's at Church St, Antrim.

A spokesman for the company said: "Our only concern is with the safety of our staff and that they make a full recovery.

"We offer our condolences to the families of the two soldiers who were killed and we will be doing all we can to support our injured team members."


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The Real IRA is one of a number of splinter groups that broke away from the Provisional IRA over its decision to end the armed struggle for a united Ireland.

Formed in 1997, it has been responsible for sporadic attacks in Northern Ireland and England but is most notorious for the bombing of Omagh.

No one has ever been brought to justice for what was the bloodiest atrocity in the history of the Troubles. Twenty nine people, including a woman pregnant with twins, died and hundreds of others were badly injured in the attack in August 1998.

The Omagh families are currently taking civil action against five men they claim were responsible for the attack. All five deny the claims.

One of them is Co Louth republican and Real IRA founder Michael McKevitt, who is currently in jail in the Republic for directing terrorism.

After the Omagh bombing, Real IRA activity decreased but the organisation renewed its campaign at the turn of the century, striking on both sides of the Irish Sea.

In London they hit symbolic targets such as MI6 HQ, BBC broadcasting house and the Hammersmith bridge but failed to take a life.

The group's focus shifted in the last few years with Sinn Fein's decision to support policing in Northern Ireland, and the resultant increase in applications from the Catholic community.

Over the last 18 months the Real IRA, along with the Continuity IRA, has claimed responsibility for a series of failed murder bids against policemen and women. Catholic officers seem to have been their primary target.

Last month the organisation was blamed for abandoning a 300lb car bomb near a primary school in the Co Down village of Castlewellan which was apparently en route to an army base.

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