Gunmen Kill Two Off-Duty Policemen in Dockside Bar
BELFAST, Northern Ireland (AP) _ Gunmen burst into a dockside bar Wednesday night and shot dead two off-duty police officers having a drink, police said.
Injured in the shooting at the Liverpool City Bar were a third off-duty police officer and a bar employee, said a spokesman at police headquarters.
The Irish Republican Army, in a statement to Belfast news organizations, claimed responsibility for the shootings.
Police sealed off the area, stopping all vehicles entering and leaving, and a helicopter hovered overhead. The attackers were believed to have made their getaway in a car immediately after the attack, police said.
The bar, opposite a dock used for ferry services across the Irish Sea to the northwest English port city of Liverpool, is a popular haunt.
The docks area largely has been untouched by sectarian and political violence in recent years. Few people live in the area, where there is high security due to the presence of private firms employed to prevent crime.
The mainly Roman Catholic IRA has declared members of the Royal Ulster Constabulary, Northern Ireland’s predominantly Protestant police force, to be legitimate targets in its guerrilla war to drive the British from Northern Ireland.
Earlier Wednesday, the IRA threatened to kill executives and tanker drivers of any oil company that refused to register with the guerrillas as a company not prepared to supply the security forces.
″Companies supplying Crown forces are actively collaborating with them and as such will be treated like them,″ the IRA said in a statement issued through the Republican Bureau run by Sinn Fein, the legal political arm of the outlawed IRA. ″Those companies who do not publicly clarify their position should realize that from now on their executives and tanker drivers will be targeted.″
The police refused comment.
The IRA wants to unite the predominantly Protestant province with the overwhelmingly Catholic Irish Republic under socialist rule.
The deaths of the two officers brings the death toll since sectarian and political violence flared in Northern Ireland in 1969 to 2,590.