Advertisement

Police: Ulster gunman wanted mass murder

BELFAST, Northern Ireland, March 8 (UPI) -- Northern Ireland police say a gun assault on a British army base that killed two soldiers was a bid to commit mass murder.

Detective Chief Superintendent Derek Williamson of the Police Service of Northern Ireland told reporters Sunday two other soldiers and two pizza delivery men were also "seriously" wounded in the Saturday night attack on the military base in Massereene, County Antrim.

Advertisement

Calling the attack "an attempt at mass murder," Williamson said

two gunmen -- suspected to be dissident Irish Catholic militants -- fired automatic rifles in an initial volley of shots, then walked up and fired a second burst at people lying on the ground, CNN reported.

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown Sunday branded the attack "evil and cowardly."

"The whole country is shocked and outraged" Brown said, promising the incident would not "derail a peace process that has the support of the vast majority of the people of Northern Ireland."

The unidentified victims were described by police as "very young men in their early 20s" who were to be deployed shortly to Afghanistan, CNN said.

The gunmen emerged from a car parked nearby as four soldiers emerged from base's main barracks to collect a pizza delivery, the BBC reported.

Advertisement

The soldiers were the first to be killed in Northern Ireland in 12 years.

No one had claimed responsibility for the attack by Sunday. Dissident Republicans who have not accepted the peace process are believed to be responsible for two attacks on police last year and for a 300-pound bomb defused in Castlewellan last month that may have been intended for an attack on an army base.

"This could be a defining moment in the history of Northern Ireland," said Ian Paisley Jr., a member of the Policing Board.

Latest Headlines