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Attack on Ulster church sparks retaliation threat

Northern Ireland Protestant leader Ian Paisley Monday threatened to raise an armed vigilante force in response to an attack Sunday on a Protestant church in which three people were killed and seven wounded.

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Leaders on both sides of the border condemned the attack on the Pentecostal Gospel Hall in the village of Darkley near the border with the Irish Republic. Responsibility was claimed by a hitherto unknown group calling itself the Catholic Reaction Force. But police said ballistic tests showed the guns involved had been used in three attacks by the Irish National Liberation Army.

There was speculation the attack was in retaliatin for the shooting last month of a Catholic, Adrian Carroll, in the same area. A group called Protestant Action Force claimed responsibility for his death.

The Irish Republican Army, the main guerrilla group in Northern Ireland, issued a statement denying any involvement in what it called a blatantly sectarian shooting, noting that its targets are British forces.

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