Two Arrested After Policeman Killed; Bomb Search Continues In Britain
DUBLIN, Ireland (AP) _ Two men were arrested after an Irish unemployment office was held up and an unarmed police sergeant was shot Thursday, police said. One of the arrested men had been sought in connection with several terrorist-related offenses.
In Britain, where police believe they have smashed an Irish Republican Army unit, officials continued a nationwide bomb hunt aimed at foiling an alleged IRA plot to bomb 12 resorts during the peak of the summer tourist season.
Sixteen people were in custody. Published reports said they included a alleged master bomber behind the October 1984 bomb attack on the Grand Hotel in Brighton, a seaside resort. That bomb killed five people and narrowly missed Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, who was at the hotel for a convention of her Conservative Party.
In Northern Ireland, protestant youths hurled rocks and bottles at police trying to prevent an illegal march through Castlewellan, a predominantly Roman Catholic town in County Down. At least five people were arrested and some injured, police said.
Britain’s Northern Ireland secretary, Douglas Hurd, banned the march on the grounds that it was likely to cause a breach of the peace.
Witnesses said two prominent Loyalists, the Rev. Ian Foster and George Graham, both members of the Rev. Ian Paisley’s Democratic Unionist Party, were among those arrested.
The police officer killed after the robbery at Ardee, 14 miles south of the border with Northern Ireland, was identified as 45-year-old Sgt. Pat Morrissey. The raiders took money equivalent to $25,500, then fled in the office manager’s car, a police statement said. At the nearby village of Tallanstown, the car crashed after knocking a woman off her bicycle.
The police report did not mention whether the woman bicyclist was injured.
Two unarmed, uniformed officers who had been pursuing the raiders in a patrol car chased them on foot when they took to the fields, the statement said. Morrissey was shot dead when the gunmen turned and fired on their pursuers, the statement said.
Morrissey, 45, was the 12th policeman killed in the Irish Republic since 1970, six months after British troops entered Northern Ireland to stop escalating riots between Catholics and Protestants, said police.
Police said two men were arrested and taken to Dundalk, a city just south of the border, after a search in the hilly, wooded region by police, troops and army helicopters. They were held without charge under the Republic of Ireland’s Offenses against the State Act.
Security sources who declined to be identified said one of those arrested was among Ireland’s most-wanted criminals and had been sought in connection with a number of terrorist-related offenses.
The British Broadcasting Corp. reported in London that the unidentified man was connected with the IRA, which has held up a number of post offices and government offices in Ireland in recent years to raise money for its violent campaign to end British rule in Northern Ireland.
In London, two newspapers, The Guardian and The Standard, reported that there was reason to believe that one or more bombs actually had been planted in some of the 12 English seaside resorts that police have said were the targets of the a foiled bombing campaign.
But Scotland Yard spokesman Martin Habgood said police had no new information and there was still no more than a slight possibility that a bomb had been placed - other than the one found and disarmed Sunday at London’s Rubens Hotel.
Police said a man was arrested in Manchester in northern England Thursday, bringing to 16 the number of people being held around the country under the Prevention of Terrorism Act in connection with the alleged bomb plot.
Habgood said that Cmdr. Simon Crawshaw, head of Scotland Yard’s anti- terrorist squad, went to Glasgow to question the eight people being held there. Some of the eight are to be moved to London soon, the spokesman said.