Armoured columns of British troops stormed into the forbidden "No-Go" areas of Northern Ireland early today, smashing down barricades guarding strongholds of the Irish Republican Army (IRA).
Armoured columns of British troops stormed into the forbidden "No-Go" areas of Northern Ireland early today, smashing down barricades guarding strongholds of the Irish Republican Army (IRA). They met only light resistance. By early morning, the troops were in firm command of the areas. There was no sign of IRA gunmen who had ruled Londonderry's Bogside district for months, and who had vowed to keep the British army out. British officers said most of them may have skipped across the border into the Irish Republic. The operation was supervised by the Northern Ireland administrator, Mr. William Whitelaw. Something like 15,000 troops went into action, supported by armoured cars, helicopters and even tank landing craft. None of the soldiers was hurt.
In Belfast, too, resistance was minimal as troops poured into staunchly Catholic districts from which IRA men had been waging a bombing and shooting war against the security forces. Troops also moved into Catholic areas of Armagh, Lurgan, Portadown and other towns. Just before breakfast, Mr. Whitelaw announced that the operation had been a complete success. He was relieved that it had been carried out without the heavy toll of civilian casualties which many had feared it would entail. But there were some casualties during the morning. In the village of Claudy, 14 miles (22 Kms) from Londonderry, six people died when three bombs exploded. They included a child of eight.