Two British military personnel were shot dead and four people seriously wounded in an attack at an army base in Northern Ireland. The attack, at Massareene Barracks in Antrim, came just days after Northern Ireland’s police chief warned the threat from republican dissidents was at its highest for a decade. Army intelligence agents have reportedly returned to the province to gather information.
“This would look to be very much like a dissident republican attack,” said SDLP Councillor Thomas Burns. “This is a devastating blow here to us in Antrim and to the Northern Ireland peace process. We are seeing bad old days again, where people have been killed in open attacks.” The area around the barracks was sealed off and a major security oepration launched. The base is the headquarters of the army’s Royal Engineers. 1998’s Good Friday peace agreement ended years of sectarian killing in Northern Ireland, but sporadic violence has continued. The province’s First Minister Peter Robinson said the Massareene attack was a terrible reminder of the past. The Irish Prime Minister Brian Cowen said evil people would not undermine the desire to live in peace.