Soldier shoots man after attack on Sinn Fein office

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The Independent Online
(First Edition)

DAVID McKITTRICK, Ireland correspondent

A MAN believed to be a loyalist gunman was shot and critically injured by a soldier in Belfast yesterday, writes David McKittrick.

The incident happened after an attack on a Sinn Fein office in the north of the city. A second member of the gang was arrested by the Royal Ulster Constabulary after a two-hour siege at a nearby house. The events followed an attack by Ulster Defence Association gunmen on a house used by Sinn Fein in the New Lodge area, one of the most violent areas in Northern Ireland.

A man with an assault rifle raked the front of the building with gunfire. Thirteen shots passed through what Sinn Fein had mistakenly believed to be bulletproof glass. A Sinn Fein worker in the room took refuge under a table and was unharmed.

The incident was apparently witnessed by a soldier in an observation post on top of nearby high-rise flats. He opened fire on the getaway car, hitting one man in the chest. The car's occupants made off on foot into Tiger's Bay, a Protestant district.

An injured man was arrested there a short time afterwards. Later police and troops surrounded a house, arresting one man. Another man was arrested after a siege and the use of tear gas.

Gerry Adams, Sinn Fein's president, said the attack was a loyalist attempt to intimidate the party in advance of tomorrow's local council elections. He declared: 'We will not be intimidated. We will not be forced off the streets. Our candidates and party workers, who have shown tremendous courage, will continue to fight this election.'