IRA killer escapes from Maze

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A full-scale security operation was mounted at the Maze prison last night amid fears a convicted IRA killer has escaped. The Northern Ireland Office said it had been told by the Prison Service that "it would appear a prisoner has gone missing". Checks and searches were mounted, said a spokesman. Further information was expected to be released later.

It is understood the prisoner was reported missing from his H-block in the top-security jail by his own IRA block commander, annoyed that the man had taken action which could be seen to destabilise Sinn Fein's position in the peace talks. It is believed the man went missing after attending an annual Christmas party for inmates' children at the jail.