British Soldier’s Wife Killed in Attack Claimed by IRA
DORTMUND, West Germany (AP) _ The Irish Republican Army said Friday it shot to death the West German wife of a British soldier in the mistaken belief she was a member of the British army.
Police said the 26-year-old woman, identified as Heidi Hazell, was shot more than a dozen times with a Kalashnikov automatic rifle Thursday as she sat in the family car in a military housing area just outside Dortmund.
The attack was the second at a British military installation in West Germany in a less than a week. More than 66,000 British soldiers and their dependents are stationed in West Germany.
In a statement released in Dublin, Ireland, the IRA said: ″An IRA Active Service Unit carried out last night’s shooting in West Germany. The woman killed was believed to have been a member of the British Crown Forces garrisoned in Dortmund. It has now emerged that she was the German wife of a British Army staff sergeant.
″As we intend continuing our campaign until the British Army withdraws from Ireland, the outcome of last night’s attack reinforces a warning we gave on Aug. 2, 1988, for civilians to stay well clear of British military personnel. This warning applies to the use of vehicles personally belonging to British soldiers and all modes of military transport.″
The mainly Catholic IRA is fighting to drive the British out of Northern Ireland. Last week, it claimed responsibility for an attack near Muenster in which two British soldiers were seriously wounded.
West German authorities warned West Germans to be on alert for possible IRA attacks in the country, saying they also could be the victims. It was the first such warning to West German citizens about the IRA.
Federal police in Wiesbaden also asked citizens to help authorities in their search for the IRA gunmen. The police statement said West Germans living in the area where British forces are concentrated should be on alert for English speakers claiming to be tourists and renting apartments and cars.
Hans-Juergen Foerster, spokesman for the federal prosecutor’s office in Karlsruhe, said the gunman fired more than a dozen shots from a Kalashnikov automatic rifle at Mrs. Hazell. The car was parked and had British plates.
Foerster said the killer fled in a car after the shooting. He wore British military battle fatigues and ″had at least one accomplice″ who was in the car, Foerster said.
In a telephone interview with The Associated Press, Foerster said a Kalashnikov was also used in the shooting of two British soldiers one week ago near Muenster.
″We are checking to determine if it was the same weapon as the one used in Muenster, although it’s unlikely″ Foerster said.