‘New IRA’ says it carried out shooting of PSNI officer

Dissident group says attack in Belfast not due to crisis but is a ‘continuation of activity’

Forensic officers attend the scene on the Crumlin Road in Belfast where a PSNI officer was shot on Sunday night. Photograph: Liam McBurney/PA Wire

Forensic officers attend the scene on the Crumlin Road in Belfast where a PSNI officer was shot on Sunday night. Photograph: Liam McBurney/PA Wire

 

The dissident republican group, the “New IRA”, has said it was responsible for the attempted murder of a PSNI officer in north Belfast on Sunday night.

An officer in his 20s was hit two or three times in the arm in the dissident gun attack at a filling station on the Crumlin Road.

Up to 10 shots are believed to have been fired from an automatic weapon at PSNI officers. The officer suffered what were described as non-life-threatening injuries and is in a stable condition in hospital.

In a statement to the Irish News, the New IRA said it carried out the attack, which PSNI chief constable George Hamilton described as “crazy” and “completely reckless”.

The group said it had “targeted” two police officers and the attack was not prompted by the current political upheaval but rather was a “continuation of activity”.

Amalgamation

The New IRA – which calls itself the “IRA” – was formed in 2012 and is an amalgamation of the Real IRA, Republican Action Against Drugs and a loose collection of dissident republicans with active paramilitary experience.

It was responsible for the murders of prison officers Adrian Ismay and David Black. Before its formation, its members are believed to have killed PSNI Constable Ronan Kerr in Omagh, Co Tyrone, in 2011. They were also said to have been involved in the killings in Antrim of British soldiers Patrick Azimkar and Mark Quinsey two years earlier.

The organisation also attempts to exert control in local nationalist communities. Last April, it killed 33-year-old Michael McGibbon in north Belfast in a botched “punishment” shooting.

It was involved in numerous other attempted murders and bombings and is viewed as the most dangerous of the different dissident groups, which include Óglaigh na hÉireann and the Continuity IRA.

Police arrested three men in connection with Sunday night’s shooting. Two were released “unconditionally” and one remained in custody on Wednesday. This third man was released unconditionally on Wednesday night.