More than a hundred guerrilla suspects were rounded up in search and arrest operations Saturday (22 July) as the British Government committed the army to the military defeat of the Provisional Irish Republican Army (I.
More than a hundred guerrilla suspects were rounded up in search and arrest operations Saturday (22 July) as the British Government committed the army to the military defeat of the Provisional Irish Republican Army (I.R.A.).
The army action comes in response to the series of twenty bombings in Belfast that killed eleven people. responsibility for the explosions was claimed by the provisional wing of the Irish Republican Army.
The army began its operations in the early morning with almost a battalion of troops moving into selected areas of Belfast and the nearby town of Portadown. The British Army said large amounts of gelignite, bomb-making equipment, guns, hand-grenades an ammunition had been found.
In his strongest statement since taking over ministerial responsibility for Northern Ireland, Mr William Whitelaw condemned the IRA bombings and made it clear that the army would not rest until the entire leadership of the provisional wing was behind bars.
In a dramatic radio and television broadcast to the people of Northern Ireland, he said: "All of you must realise that the British Army is here to protect ordinary people's lives and property. We must go after the killers, the bomb-makers and the fanatics who mastermind them".
Five more people were killed in overnight shooting incidents, bringing the death toll for the twenty-four hours between Friday and Saturday morning to sixteen.