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Northern Ireland police chief: Rise in violence was anticipated

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DUBLIN, Ireland – Police believe dissident Irish nationalists attempting to smash the decade-old peace in Northern Ireland might have been behind the shooting deaths Saturday night of two British soldiers.

The soldiers were killed in a drive-by shooting at Massereene Army base in Antrim, Northern Ireland. Four others, including two pizza delivery men, were injured when gunmen opened fire. According to local media reports, the soldies were wearing desert fatigues and were scheduled to be deployed to Afghanistan Sunday.

The Real IRA, a breakaway republican group with a history of violence, reportedly claimed responsibility for the attack in a phone call Sunday evening to Ireland's Sunday Tribune newspaper. The group is also behind the 1998 Omagh car bombing that killed 29 people.

Although the attack itself was not anticipated, security services have warned that violent groups remain active. A peace accord in 1998 ended sectarian violence in Northern Ireland, but dissident republican groups refused to sign this so-called Good Friday Accord.


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