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Two Suspected IRA members Arrested in Belgium, Netherlands

June 17, 1990 GMT

BRUSSELS, Belgium (AP) _ Authorities on Saturday arrested two suspected IRA members after a local farmer heard them taking target practice in woods near the Dutch border.

Police said they were looking for a third reputed member of the Irish Republican Army who escaped.

Authorities identified one suspect as Donna Maguire. She faces West German terrorism charges dating back to September 1989, Dutch authorities said.

Ms. Maguire, 23, was carrying a false U.S. passport when she was arrested in woods along the Dutch border, 43 miles north of Brussels.

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She and two men were in the area practicing shooting, Dutch authorities said.

Officials said the shots were heard by a farmer who alerted the police. The woman was arrested, but the two men fled.

Police said they found a Dutch-registered car containing a machine gun, explosives and two handguns in the woods where the three were shooting.

About two hours later, across the border, Dutch police arrested an English- speaking man who was ″obviously on the run,″ said Stephan Worm, a Dutch National Police spokesman. He said the man was believed to be one of the group of three.

Worm said the man refused to give his name or make any statement. He was being held for extradition to Belgium.

Police on both sides of the border were looking for the other man.

A police spokesman in the north Belgian city of Turnhout said, ″We are almost certain that we are dealing with three IRA people.″

Worm said Ms. Maguire is wanted in West Germany for murder, attempted murder and setting off explosives in connection with a terrorist attack in September 1989. He gave no other details.

The charges may relate to the shooting death on Sept. 7, 1989, of Heidi Hazell, 26, the German-born wife of a British soldier. She was shot in her car in Dortmund. The IRA said later it thought she worked for British security forces.

Since 1979, the IRA has mounted attacks in Belgium, the Netherlands and West Germany in the group’s campaign to end British rule in Northern Ireland.

The outlawed organization, in a new offensive aimed mainly at British targets outside Northern Ireland, has killed seven people in the past few weeks and mounted several attacks in England.

Last weekend, an IRA bomb injured 17 students at a birthday party in a bar of a north London barracks.

In other recent attacks, IRA gunmen shot dead a teen-age off-duty soldier at Lichfield station in central England and killed a British army major in West Germany.

On May 27, at least two IRA gunmen shot and killed two Australian tourists as they got into their British-registered car in Roermond, the Netherlands.

In a statement later, the IRA said it believed the two were British servicemen stationed in West Germany and apologized for the ″tragic mistake.″