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12 February 1998 Edition

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Undercover operation exposed

New information has confirmed that the undercover British soldier who shot and seriously wounded an RUC man in North Belfast on 14 January was carrying out surveillance on Ardoyne republicans.

At the time of the incident the RUC said the woman soldier, who was a member of 14th Int, an undercover unit of the British army, was involved in an operation against loyalists in the Shankill Road area.

Writing in An Phoblacht on 22 January Mick Naughton was able to refute the RUC claims saying that the undercover British soldier was observed at numerous locations in Ardoyne in the hours before a high speed chase when she crashed at Carlisle Circus.

An RUC source has now admitted in a newspaper article that the British solider, who was wearing civilian clothes and driving an unmarked car, had been ``observing an IRA suspect'' close to Ladbrook Drive in the Ardoyne area on 14 January.

At around 1.20am she was spotted by four RUC members, also in an unmarked car, who gave chase. According to an RUC inquiry, the British soldier thought she had been detected by the IRA, and sped away at 80 miles an hour in an attempt to shake off her pursuers

Meanwhile the RUC, who claim they were on a routine patrol on the look out for loyalist killers, gave chase because they believed the woman soldier was a ``joyrider''.

The British army's 14 Intelligence Company was founded in 1974 and is commanded by an SAS colonel. One of the most secret sections of the British army, 14 Int. is associated with covert `dirty tricks' operations and Kitson's ``counter gangs.''

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