Arrests Ignite Riots in Northern Ireland

By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Mar 14, 2009 7:29 PM CDT

(Newser) – Irish nationalist gangs hurled gasoline bombs at police today after three alleged IRA dissidents were arrested on suspicion of killing two British soldiers, the AP reports. Police operating in armored cars and flame-retardant suits said none of their officers was injured during the rising mob violence in the Irish Catholic end of Lurgan, near Belfast. Rioters also blocked the main Belfast-to-Dublin railway line.

Later, police said they arrested a 37-year-old man and 30-year-old woman and seized a gun and ammunition in a neighboring town. The unrest came in direct response to today's arrest of Colin Duffy, 41, the best-known Irish republican in Lurgan. Police long considered him the IRA godfather there and twice charged him with murders in the run-up to the IRA's 1997 cease-fire—which breakaway factions are now trying to destroy.