Original source:

Dissident republicans the Continuity IRA fatally shot a policeman in Craigavon on Monday night as he responded to an emergency call, just 48 hours after the killing of two soldiers.

The killings of British security forces in Northern Ireland are the first since 1998 – the year that rival loyalist and republican politicians signed the Good Friday Agreement.

Sinn Fein’s Alex Maskey, who sits on the Policing Board, expressed disgust and anger at what he described as ‘an awful tragedy.’

And Sinn Fein MLA John O’Dowd, who attended the scene of the shooting, said that he condemned the attack ‘without hesitation.

‘This is an attack on the peace process. Whoever carried out this shooting was not doing so to advance Irish republican or democratic goals,’ Mr O’Dowd declared.

Northern Ireland Chief Constable Hugh Orde, whose police force was already on high alert following the killing of the soldiers, said that the latest attack looked like ‘a deliberate set-up.’

He said that police in Craigavon had received ‘a call for help from a terrified member of the community’ who reported that a street gang had shattered a window of her home.

Reflecting their heightened security precautions because of the rising threat from IRA dissidents, he said that the officers stood off for a sensible period of time’ to check for any signs that they might be heading into a trap.

Two carloads of policemen then drove in to deal with the woman’s call.

An officer with more than 20 years’ service was sitting in the car providing cover to the other unit when he was shot in the head, apparently at close range.

In a coded statement to Belfast media, the Continuity IRA, which is bent on reversing Northern Ireland’s 15-year-old peace process, threatened to keep targeting police ‘as long as there is British involvement in Ireland.’

The peace process has delivered ceasefires by rival paramilitary groups in the mid-1990s, IRA disarmament in 2005, the rise of the powersharing administration in May 2007 and the withdrawal of British troops from security duties two months later.

Another splinter group of dissident paramilitaries the Real IRA has claimed responsibility for Saturday’s attack outside the entrance of the Massereene army base in Antrim, west of Belfast.

The group defended its decision to shoot the two pizza deliverers, as well as the unarmed soldiers, on the grounds that they were ‘collaborating’ with the enemy.

The Continuity IRA also opposes the decision of most IRA members to renounce violence and surrender arms in 2005.

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