IRA Kills British Soldier in West Germany, Another in England
LONDON (AP) _ The Irish Republican Army today claimed responsibility for murdering a British soldier outside his home in West Germany and another soldier on a railway platform in England.
″Active Service Units of the Irish Republican Army carried out two separate operations against British military personnel in England and West Germany last night,″ the IRA said in a statement issued in Dublin, Ireland.
″While British troops remain in Ireland such attacks will continue,″ said the statement distributed to news media. IRA claims of responsibility for attacks in Britain and Europe normally are made in the Irish capital.
Police in Dortmund, West Germany, said two suspects eluded a chase early today after gunmen killed a British army major. One police officer was shot in the foot during the chase.
In the central England city of Lichfield, police were looking for two men who shot three soldiers in a daylight attack at a railway station. A 19-year- old soldier was killed, and the gunmen fled across the tracks, police said. The other two soldiers survived the attack.
Earlier today, Defense Secretary Tom King indicated he believed the IRA was responsible for both killings.
″There is no argument or reason in this. It is simply that they are out to kill,″ King told Press Association, Britain’s domestic news agency.
″They are out to cover the humiliation of their mistake in killing two young Australians in Holland ...″
The attack in Germany came six days after an IRA unit shot and killed two Australian tourists in Roermond in The Netherlands. The IRA said the victims had been mistaken for British soldiers.
The Defense Ministry said Maj. Michael John Dillon-Lee of the Royal Artillery was shot today as he drove with his wife from the military base in Dortmund, West Germany to their home.
Dillon-Lee was shot several times in the head after he stopped his car in front of his house, the ministry said. He died immediately, but his wife was not injured. German police said one of their officers was shot and wounded as police cars chased the gunmen, who escaped.
In Britain, meanwhile, police said they were looking for two men who fled the scene of the shooting at Lichfield City train station, 100 miles northwest of London. Police initially were reported to have worn masks, but Lichfield police said today it appeared neither man was masked.
Scotland Yard said an anti-terrorist squad was assisting with the investigation.
Chief Inspector Tony Johnson of the Staffordshire Police said the shooting ″bears the hallmarks of an IRA attack.″ He did not elaborate.
Authorities said the three soldiers were shot while waiting on a platform for a train Friday. Witnesses said the gunfire sent commuters fleeing.
The three soldiers, who were in training at the Lichfield army base, were waiting for a train to nearby Birmingham for weekend leave, said Detective Chief Superintendent Malcolm Bevington.
He said two men appeared on the platform, pulled out handguns and shot the soldiers, then jumped onto the tracks, ran across the line and through a builder’s yard opposite the station.
The Ministry of Defense identified the slain soldier as 19-year-old Pvt. William Robert Davies of Pontarddulais, south Wales. It identified the wounded soldiers as Robert Parkin, 20, and Neil Evans, 19.
A British Rail employee who witnessed the shooting said he jumped across the tracks to try to help the soldiers.
″I and a station employee tried to staunch the flow of blood from the chest of one of the soldiers,″ he said.
Although the soldiers were dressed in civilian clothes, their hairstyles and manner of conduct indicated they were in the military, he said.
On Sunday, the IRA killed two Australian lawyers traveling in Roermond after mistaking them for British soldiers. The IRA later expressed deep regret over the error. The Australians, who lived in London, were traveling in a British-registered car, one with his wife, the other with his girlfriend.
The IRA wants to unite the predominantly Protestant Northern Ireland with the Catholic Republic of Ireland in a single socialist state.