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Cop killer case leads to arrest of 18 year old

Police in Northern Ireland say they have arrested an 18-year-old man in the case of a police officer killed by IRA dissidents. Detectives investigating the murder of Constable Stephen Carroll made the arrest yesterday.

Irish Republican Army dissidents claimed responsibility yesterday for fatally shooting a policeman in the head as he responded to an emergency call, just 48 hours after the killing of two soldiers.

The Continuity IRA said it killed Constable Stephen Carroll, 48, as he sat in his patrol car on Monday night in the religiously divided town of Craigavon, southwest of Belfast. In a coded statement to Belfast media the breakaway group threatened to keep targeting police "as long as there is British involvement in Ireland."

The attack and claim followed last Saturday's gun attack on a British army base west of Belfast by a rival dissident group, the Real IRA.

Together, the killings are the first of British security forces in Northern Ireland since 1998 - the year that rival British Protestant and Irish Catholic politicians struck a peace deal designed to leave behind decades of bloodshed and promote a future based on cooperation and compromise.

The Northern Ireland police commander, Chief Constable Hugh Orde, said his officers were already on their guard for possible dissident ambushes. He said Monday night's attack looked like "a deliberate set-up."

Orde said police in Craigavon received "a call for help from a terrified member of the community." A woman reported that a street gang had shattered a window of her home.

He said the officers "stood off for a sensible period of time" to check for any signs they might be heading into a trap. Two carloads of police drove in to deal with the call.

Carroll, an officer with more than 20 years' service, was sitting in the car providing cover to the other unit when he was shot in the head.


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