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Police Say Seized IRA Guns Came From Libya

January 28, 1986

DUBLIN, Ireland (AP) _ Police said Monday that 140 weapons and ammunition seized in three raids on hideouts of the outlawed Irish Republican Army apparently came from Libya.

The weapons, including Soviet-made Kalashnikov automatic rifles and East German guns, and the green crates they were packed in, were shown to reporters at Dublin police headquarters.

Police said markings on the crates indicated they came from the Libyan armed forces.

The British and Irish governments have for several years maintained that the IRA guerrillas have links with the radical regime of Libyan leader Col. Moammar Khadafy.

President Reagan ordered economic sanctions against Libya on Jan. 7, claiming Khadafy supports international terrorists, including those who attacked the Rome and Vienna airports Dec. 27. Twenty people, including five Americans, were fatally wounded in those attacks.

Police found the weapons and arrested five people in pre-dawn raids Sunday within about 25 miles of the border with Northern Ireland, a British province.

Monday night, one of the suspects, Patrick McGrath, 43, of Mullaghroe, County Sligo, was ordered held to appear Wednesday before Dublin’s special no- jury criminal court. He is charged with illegal possession of 30 Kalashnikovs. The other suspects were still undergoing questioning.

Police Chief Supt. Joe Wilson said Sunday that anti-terrorist squad officers raided a farm near Strandhill, 18 miles south of the a border, and found 40 weapons in a hay shed; a house in Croghan, 25 miles below the border that contained 30 weapons, and another house in Mullaghroe, 30 miles east of Croghan, where 70 weapons were confiscated. Ammunition was found at all three locations.

Wilson said the five arrested were a father and son at the Strandhill farm, two brothers in the Croghan house and a man in Mullaghroe.

Police called it the biggest arms haul since a gun-running trawler was seized as it approached the Irish coast in September 1984.

The trawler, the Marita Ann, was carrying seven tons of arms brought from the United States and apparently destined for IRA attacks in Northern Ireland and in England.

Sunday’s arms finds were the first reported in the Irish Republic since the Nov. 15 signing of an Anglo-Irish pact giving the Irish Republic a consultative role in Britain’s administration of Northern Ireland. The accord also provided for closer cooperation in anti-IRA operations.

In Northern Ireland, police said troopers of the province’s locally recruited Ulster Defense Regiment shot and wounded two civilians in a car Monday night.

Belfast police headquarters issued a statement saying the shooting occurred on the road between Cookstown and Omagh and both civilians were hit in the shoulders and taken to a hospital. It said one was ″not seriously wounded″ and the other was in stable condition.

The mainly Roman Catholic IRA is fighting to end British rule in Northern Ireland and unite the Protestant-dominated province with the predominantly Catholic Irish Republic under a leftist administration. The IRA is outlawed in both Britain and Ireland.

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