Belfast Telegraph

Attacks in which man died not linked to terrorism, say police

A series of attacks in Ireland which left one man dead and two others injured has not been linked to terrorism.

As detectives continued to question a teenage suspect over the random killing and assaults in Dundalk, Co Louth on Wednesday morning they said no terrorist link has been established.

The arrested man, aged 18 and from Egypt, was being interviewed while gardai liaise with counterparts in the UK and Cairo in a bid to establish the man's background.

"An Garda Siochana extends its sympathies to the families of the deceased person and our thoughts are with those injured," the force said in a statement.

"An Garda Siochana is currently liaising closely with our security and law enforcement partners worldwide to share and assess any relevant intelligence and its potential impact on the current investigation.

"At this time, we can find no established link to indicate that this tragedy is terrorist-related."

Following the man's arrest gardai said a number of lines of inquiry into the motive for the attacks were being investigated, including terrorism.

The dead man was Japanese, aged 24, and had been living in Ireland for a year.

He has been named as Yosuke Sasaki and is understood to have come from Ebina, west of Tokyo.

He worked in a call centre in Dundalk and it is believed he was targeted randomly on Avenue Road in Dundalk shortly before 9am on Wednesday as he made his way to the office.

Officials in the Japanese embassy in Dublin have been liaising with the dead man's family and have appealed for privacy.

In the second incident, an Irish man was injured when he was stabbed a short time later on Coes Road in Dundalk, near the scene of the first incident.

At 9.40am gardai received a report that another local man had been injured in an attack with a fence pole at Seatown Place.

The arrested man had come into contact with gardai in Dundalk on January 1 when inquiries about his immigration status were conducted.

It is believed he had applied for asylum in the Irish Republic.

Gardai can hold the arrested man until this evening when a decision will be made on whether to charge him or apply to have his period of detention extended.

Gardai said officers were liaising internationally with counterparts as the investigation develops.

It also noted that the threat level in Ireland from international terrorism remains unchanged and is classed as moderate, meaning an attack is possible but not likely.

"The level of threat remains under constant review by An Garda Siochana in consultation with the Defence Forces," it said.

"The public should be reassured that An Garda Siochana is committed to ensuring that the security of the state and our public areas remains a policing and security service priority."

Gardai urged people to remain vigilant and appealed for anyone with information to come forward.

Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan extended his sympathies those killed or injured, including Mr Sasaki.

"Our thoughts are with his family and friends at this difficult time. I want to wish those who were injured a speedy recovery," he said.

Mr Flanagan praised the work of gardai involved in the incident and cautioned about people jumping to conclusions over the attacks.

"There has, understandably, been speculation and concern about the motivation for this attack ... and would caution against drawing judgments until the gardai can establish the facts in the course of their investigation," he said.

Gerry Adams, Sinn Fein president who represents Co Louth where the attacks took place, said: "I want to express my deep sense of shock at the brutal murder of Yosuke Sasaki in Dundalk and the wounding of two other citizens."

Mr Adams said he had sought answers from Mr Flanagan over what contact the arrested man had with the immigration service; what his status was; what steps gardai took after coming into contact with him; and whether all necessary steps were taken by state agencies who dealt with him.


From Belfast Telegraph