Gunman pinned down 36 British soldiers in a 50-minute hail of gunfire in the biggest battle along the Northern Ireland border in years.
Gunman pinned down 36 British soldiers in a 50-minute hail of gunfire in the biggest battle along the Northern Ireland border in years. The battle, on Thursday (14 October), erupted after 35 Royal Army Engineers arrived near the border village of Forkhill to blow up a road leading to the Irish Republic. The road is one of forty believed used by the outlawed Irish Republican Army (IRA) to ferry arms and explosives into Northern Ireland.
One soldier was wounded as the gunman, estimated in number at about 40, poured automatic, rifle and pistol fire at the troops. One soldier said he thought a bazooka ha also been used by the gunmen. The soldiers returned the fire and called in armoured reinforcements.
Just across the border, soldiers from the Irish Republic took up positions facing the British troops, with his gunmen in between. They fired no shots, but several men were reported to have been arrested by the Republic's police after the battle died down.
SYNOPSIS: In Northern Ireland on Thursday, British troops came under fire-much of it automatic--from just inside the Irish Republic. One soldier said that the ambush was laid by experts. A television camera crew in the area also came under fire and was warned to take cover.
With the gunmen located, the Army returned the fire, on occasion using a light machine-gun. Some soldiers said they thought a bazooka had been used by the gunman.
At one stage, a local citizen got caught in the crossfire and was warned to keep moving by the British soldiers. Eventually the Army brought heavy armour forward to provide cover.
Just across the border from the British troops, the Irish Army had taken up positions facing the British soldiers, with the gunmen in between. They fired no shots, but several men were arrested as they tried to leave the area, and are being held by the Irish Republic police. This incident came twenty-four hours after the Republic's Prime Minister, Mr. Lynch, had warned that the blowing up of the border roads would lead to an escalation of violence.
The ambush came shortly after one such border road had been blown up about four miles away. The road is one of forty believed to be used by the outlawed Irish Republican Army, I-R-A, to ferry arms and explosives into Northern Ireland from the south, ??? people have complained that ??? lasting causes damage to their property and inconveniences their travelling in the area. Children in the area say that they are now unable to use the road to get to school.