Loyalists fire rocket at prison canteen
Belfast-born David McKittrick has been reporting on Northern Ireland since 1971, He has written for the East Antrim Times, the Irish Times and was The Independent's Irish correspondent for many years. He is the author of several books including Making Sense of the Troubles (2000) and Lost Lives (1999).
Monday 14 December 1992
The incident followed two weekend deaths from terrorism, with loyalists killing a member of Sinn Fein and the victim of a republican 'punishment squad' dying of his injuries.
The rocket attack was launched at Belfast's Crumlin Road prison, which houses both republican and loyalist remand prisoners. The target was the A-wing canteen, where republicans were dining at the time, but the missile missed and struck the roof.
Prisoners were immediately returned to their cells while a major security operation was launched outside the jail, which is close to the hardline loyalist Shankill Road area.
A taxi hijacked in the district a short time earlier may have been used in the incident.
A telephone caller who used a recognised Ulster Volunteer Force codeword claimed the attack in the name of the 'Loyalist Military Command', saying the target had been 47 republicans in the canteen. He added that it was intended as retaliation for the IRA bomb which killed two loyalists in a prison canteen in November of last year.
It is assumed that an RPG-7 rocket was used in the attack. Although these weapons are more often associated with the IRA, loyalist groups have a small number of them and have used them on several occasions in recent years. They are believed to have reached the extreme Protestants in a shipment of arms from South Africa.
The Sinn Fein member who died at the weekend was the fifth member of the party to be killed by the illegal Ulster Defence Association in the last 18 months. Malachy Carey, 36, was shot twice as he waited for his girlfriend in the Co Antrim town of Ballymoney on Saturday night.
His injuries were at first thought to be not life-threatening, but his condition deteriorated sharply overnight. Police said a man was being questioned about the killing.
Mr Carey, who had served a lengthy prison sentence for IRA offences, was a Sinn Fein candidate in a council election three years ago. Police said he had been warned three years ago that his name was on a loyalist death list.
The second man to die was a 36- year-old Londonderry man whose legs were amputated following an IRA punishment shooting in the city last Tuesday night. He was John Collett, who had been on a life support machine since the shooting and the emergency operation in which surgeons could not save his legs.
The RUC said the IRA had used an improvised flame thrower to attack an Army look-out post in Crossmaglen, south Armagh on Saturday night. The post was sprayed with a highly flammable mixture from a slurry tank which was pulled into position by a tractor. No one was injured.
Two men in their twenties will appear in court today charged in connection with a Belfast city centre bombing, police said. No one was hurt in the double explosion in a multi-storey car park in the Chicester Street district last Wednesday.
- 1 The black and blue dress: Makers considering a white and gold version
- 2 Husband and wife die holding hands within hours of each other after 67 years of marriage
- 3 What color is The Dress, white and gold or blue and black? An eyewitness gives a definitive answer
- 5 Fearne Cotton quits Radio 1 after ten years for 'family and new adventures'
New theory could prove how life began and disprove God
Half of Ukip voters say they are prejudiced against people of other races
'Cash for access' scandal: Sir Malcolm Rifkind says 'unrealistic' for MPs to live on £67,000 salary
This is what it's like to be dead, according to a guy who died for a bit
'Jihadi John': CAGE representative storms off Sky News accusing Kay Burley of Islamophobia
Aqsa Mahmood branded a 'disgrace' by her parents after claims she recruited three UK girls flying to Middle East
salary equal to £40K pro-rata: Sauce Recruitment: Are you available to start a...
£35000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Creative Front-End Developer - Claph...
£18000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The role in this successful eco...
£28000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: QA Tester - London - £30,000 QA Tes...