McGuinness confirms Bloody Sunday role

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Martin McGuinness has admitted being the deputy commander of the IRA in Londonderry at the time of Bloody Sunday.

In a leaked statement issued to the independent tribunal investigating the shootings, Northern Ireland's Education Minister said that once it became clear that British soldiers had killed several people in the crowd, "I wanted to get a rifle, find other volunteers and try to do something about the situation."

"People were angry, infuriated and emotionally all over the place," he added. "But the state and organization of the IRA at the time was such that whatever the volunteers were told to do by someone in charge, they would do it."

McGuinness also denied claims, by a British agent codenamed "Infliction," that he had personally fired the first shots at soldiers on Bloody Sunday, triggering their fusillade. He called the claim "a concoction, rubbish and a blatant lie."

He also emphasized that the Bloody Sunday Inquiry's lawyers would not persuade him to confirm the identities of any other IRA members, or detail their actions on that fateful day.

"As a republican I am simply not prepared to give such information," he said.

The inquiry has already gathered huge volumes of written evidence and heard from nearly 500 witnesses in Londonderry's Guildhall.