Cyprus Mail

Northern Irish police suspect New IRA behind detective shooting

800px omagh view (01), january 2010
Omagh (File photo)

Northern Irish police suspect that the New IRA Irish nationalist militant group may have been responsible for the attempted murder of a senior detective who was shot in front of his son on Wednesday evening in the town of Omagh.

Detective Chief Inspector John Caldwell was shot a number of times by two gunmen while putting footballs in his car after a youth training session, Assistant Chief Constable Mark McEwan said. He remains in a critical condition in hospital.

The gunmen continued to fire while the detective was on the ground, McEwan said. Both gunmen fired multiple shots and at least two other vehicles were struck in a crowded car park where parents and children ran to get to safety, he added.

The suspects’ car was later found burnt out just outside Omagh.

“We are keeping an open mind, there are multiple strands to that investigation. The primary focus is on violent dissident republicans and within that, there is a primary focus as well on New IRA,” McEwan told BBC Northern Ireland.

While a 1998 peace deal largely ended three decades of sectarian violence in Northern Ireland, police officers are still sporadically targeted by splinter groups of mostly Irish nationalist militants opposed to Britain’s rule over the region.

The New IRA, a small militant nationalist group opposed to the peace deal, was responsible for the killing of journalist Lyra McKee in 2019.

The last time a police officer was shot in Northern Ireland was in 2017.

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