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Ulster prison warden killed by IRA gunmen

The deputy warden of Northern Ireland's Maze prison, which holds hundreds of Irish guerrillas, was shot dead in front of his wife and three-year-old daughter Tuesday by republican gunmen, police said.

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Two men, with a woman accomplice waiting in a getaway car, ambushed William McConnell as he stepped from his Belfast home and shot him at point-blank range, a police spokesman said.

The outlawed Irish Republican Army (IRA) said its men killed Mr. McConnell because he ''organized and directed beatings'' in the prison, southwest of Belfast, where he supervised allocation of work to the 1,000 inmates, most of them convicted guerrillas.

The Maze is considered Western Europe's highest-security prison for its ratio of guards to inmates.

McConnell was the 22nd prison officer killed since 1976 by the IRA in its struggle to end British rule in Northern Ireland.

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