Shots fired as IRA suspects are held

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TWO MEN were being questioned by Anti-Terrorist Branch detectives last night after shots were fired when armed police raided a suspected IRA hideout in north-east London.

Scotland Yard sources confirmed last night that the raid on a Stoke Newington house came after a tip-off in response to the broadcasting on television of a video film of two suspected terrorists (photograph omitted) outside Harrods, possibly planting the bomb that exploded on 28 January.

The men were arrested by armed officers just before 5pm yesterday. One or two shots were fired from a gun at police and one of the men suffered head injuries. He was treated at hospital. Both were being questioned by detectives at Paddington Green police station last night about the Harrods bomb and other explosions. Scotland Yard said that as well as the gun, 'a substantial amount' of firearms and explosive, thought to be Semtex, had been found in the house. Bomb-making equipment is also believed to have been there.

The house is close to where a man eluded police during a chase after shots were fired at a constable in November. The officer had stopped a lorry containing a ton of explosives.

Police have suspected that an IRA gang was operating in the area and mounted armed police road blocks. The video film, enhanced using the same technology as in the James Bulger case, was not released until yesterday because police had wanted to search for the men without alerting them. Commander David Tucker, head of the Anti-Terrorist Branch, told a press conference earlier: 'The intensive efforts to identify them have not yet succeeded and we have reached the point where we need public help in doing that.' He refused to say whether police knew the identities of the men, or if they were suspects in other bomb attacks, but did say: 'We suspect the men may well have been involved in other incidents.' The film was shot by two security cameras outside Harrods, about 30 minutes before a 1lb bomb exploded in a litter bin at 9.40am.

The first section shows two men walking towards the camera and the second shows them from behind. About 10 minutes after that, two coded telephone warnings were made, claiming there were devices inside and outside the store. Three people were slightly hurt in the blast 20 minutes later.

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