Officer escapes shooting in N. Ireland

Dec. 20, 2012 at 12:44 AM
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BELFAST, Northern Ireland, Dec. 20 (UPI) -- A police officer in Northern Ireland was targeted in a near-miss shooting Wednesday night, officials said.

Two men believed to be dissident Republicans were arrested, sources told The Guardian. The shooting occurred in a heavily unionist area in Bangor, the newspaper said.

Also Wednesday, packages containing bullets were mailed to five politicians at Stormont, the center of provincial government, The Irish Times reported. Two are members of the Republican Sinn Fein Party and three of the Alliance Party.

In early December, the Belfast Council voted to limit the flying of the British flag over City Hall to 17 days a year, a compromise crafted by the Alliance Party. That set off loyalist protests and bottle- and rock-throwing riots across Northern Ireland.

The United Protestant Voice, which has been involved in many of the demonstrations, plans a protest Friday afternoon in Belfast, the Belfast Telegraph reported. That could disrupt the evening commute on what for many people is the beginning of the Christmas holidays.

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