Thousands join peace protest in Greysteel

THOUSANDS of people attended a peace walk and prayer meeting in Greysteel yesterday to commemorate the seven people shot dead by loyalist terrorists in the Rising Sun bar last weekend. But the violence continued elsewhere in Northern Ireland, when a soldier was shot and injured and the IRA launched a mortar attack on a police station.

The Greysteel walk was organised jointly by residents of the mainly Catholic village and the people of the mainly Protestant neighbouring village of Eglinton.

Among those present at the prayer meeting outside the Rising Sun after the walk were relatives of those killed and injured in the atrocity.

Mary McGuigan, one of the organisers, described the turnout as fantastic. She added: 'I am really touched. I think it is just brilliant. I did not expect anything less but I am still delighted. The message we are sending out is that we as a community are even closer than we were when this happened last week.'

Two people have been charged in connection with the massacre, one of them with the seven murders and the other with withholding information. Other people are still being questioned.

The soldier shot and injured yesterday was patrolling in the nationalist New Lodge Road area of Belfast. No one claimed immediate responsibility for the shooting in Spamount Street. The soldier's condition was not serious.

Meanwhile, more than 50 people were evacuated from their homes early yesterday after an RUC station close to the border with the republic came under a gun and bomb attack. A church and several buildings, including houses at Caledon, Co Tyrone, were damaged but no one was hurt.

The RUC said the station, three miles from the border, was hit by a burst of gunfire at 5.20am and seconds later a loud explosion rocked the

village.

It is believed an IRA mortar bomb fired from a van parked near the base missed its target and landed in the grounds of the local Presbyterian church.

The mortar bomb was a so- called 'barracks-buster' using 200lb of home-made explosives. A number of similar devices have been fired over high perimeter walls into security bases causing widespread damage.

The RUC said the incident could easily have resulted in a mass-murder atrocity.

The bungled attack ends a seven-day lull in IRA violence following the murder of an RUC reserve constable who died three days after he was shot in Newry, Co Down, last Sunday.

The RUC has launched an investigation into the shooting of a woman driver, aged in her forties, by a soldier at a checkpoint near Omagh in Co Tyrone yesterday. She was said to be travelling with a child. Last night, her condition in hospital was described as 'ill but

stable'.

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