17 July 1997 Edition
IRA attack leaves five casualties
FIVE MEMBERS OF A JOINT RUC and British Army patrol were injured when an IRA unit launched a daring gun and bomb attack on them while they operated a checkpoint in North Belfast late on Friday night 11 July.
Of those injured three were British soldiers from the Staffordshire Regiment which had just flown in to the Six Counties as part of the increased security measures introduced by the British government for the Twelfth. The other injured were members of the RUC. All five received leg injuries.
The attack was carried out at 10.10pm as the crown forces operated a checkpoint near the Hillview Road and Oldpark Road junction when an IRA unit drove through the British roadblock. Two Volunteers got out of the car and fired 56 shots from AK 47 assault rifles at the crown forces. As these Volunteers made their escape a Volunteer, covering them, threw a coffee jar bomb.
In a statement claiming responsibility for the attack the IRA's Belfast Brigade said, ``An active service unit from Belfast Brigade Oglaigh na hEireann carried out an attack on the crown forces on Friday night 11 July. Our Volunteers drove through the British roadblock, dismounted from their car and opened fire from close range at the crown forces. Were it not for the armour of their Saxon armoured vehicle and their flak jackets the injuries to the RUC and British soldiers would have been more serious''.
The IRA statement added that it was also their Volunteers who carried out a grenade attack on a crown forces patrol in the Doon Road area of Lenadoon in West Belfast. No hits were claimed.
IRA shoots Newry criminals
A spate of looting and intimidation of local people by a criminal gang in Newry led to two of their members being shot by the IRA last Sunday night.
In a statement South Down Oglaigh na hEireann said, ``IRA Volunteers carried out the punishment shooting of two Newry men on Sunday 13 July. Both men were part of a gang responsible for a long series of anti-social activities and intimidation in the Newry area culminating in the looting of the Buttercrane shopping complex on 6/7 July.''
The gang has a history of criminal activity and intimidation in the Newry area. They used the cover of nationalist protest against the decision to force an Orange march down the Garvaghy Road to launch a wave of looting and theft in Newry. Local people who intervened were beaten and in one case a gun was held to the head of a man who attempted to stop their anti-social behaviour.
In two incidents on Monday and Tuesday of this week two members of Sinn Féin were shot in the legs. One is seriously ill in a Belfast hospital. There were also a number of failed attacks on Sinn Féin members.
In a statement on Wednesday Newry Sinn Féin Councillor Davy Hyland said, ``Overnight there were a number of attacks on local members of Sinn Féin. These attacks involved men with guns and failed due to the vigilance and increased security of those that were targeted. I am calling on the people involved in these attacks to stop them immediately.''