Belfast Telegraph

Gaddafi and the IRA: Trail of murder stretching back to '68

By Nevin Farrell

The deadly links between former Libyan dictator Colonel Muammar Gaddafi and the IRA stretch back to the early years of the Troubles.

Gaddafi seized power in a coup in 1968 and provided the IRA with weaponry as he saw them as comrades-in-arms fighting British imperialism.

In 1973 the Irish Navy boarded a ship called Claudia and found five tonnes of armaments from Libya.

Thirteen years later the United States launched bombing raids on Libya from UK bases and Gaddafi said that caused him to re-activate his links with the IRA.

In 1987 another ship was stopped, this time the Eksund, which was bulging with two tonnes of Semtex plastic explosives, 50 ground-to-air missiles and 1,000 AK-47 automatic weapons.

The authorities believe other consignments slipped through.

Semtex was used in major deadly attacks such as the Enniskillen Poppy Day bombing of 1987 as well as hundreds of booby-trap bombs.

Gaddafi's involvement in blowing Pan Am flight 103 up over Lockerbie in 1988 finally led to international sanctions by the United Nations and in 2003, Gaddafi admitted responsibility for the aeroplane attack.

The families of the 180 US victims of the Lockerbie bombing received £1bn compensation as part of a deal between their government and Libya.

The UN Security Council voted in 2003 to lift sanctions against Libya but the DUP's Ian Paisley jnr opposed it because of the lack of compensation for IRA victims.

The Libyans admitted they had supplied around 120 tonnes of weaponry worth millions of pounds to the IRA.

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