The IRA splinter group claimed responsibility for the police shooting

The IRA splinter group claimed responsibility for the police shooting

LONDON (AP) — Police in Northern Ireland said Monday they are looking into an unverified statement by an Irish Republican Army splinter group claiming responsibility for the shooting of a senior police officer.

A statement from the dissident group known as the New IRA appeared on a wall in Londonderry late on Sunday, claiming it was responsible for Wednesday’s attack on Detective Chief Inspector John Caldwell.

Two masked men shot Caldwell in front of his young son after the off-duty officer was coaching a children’s soccer team in Omagh, about 60 miles (about 100 kilometers) west of Belfast. Caldwell remained in critical condition at the hospital.

Assistant Chief Constable Mark McEwan said Monday police were aware of the claim of responsibility and were “reviewing its content as part of the overall investigation.”

Police said last week they were treating Caldwell’s attempted murder as terror-related and that the New IRA was the primary line of inquiry.

Six people have been detained for questioning.

Paramilitary groups in Northern Ireland laid down their arms after the 1998 Good Friday Peace Agreement ended three decades of violent conflict known as “The Troubles” between Irish Republic and British loyalist groups and UK security forces.

But smaller IRA splinter groups continue to carry out sporadic attacks on security forces. The last fatal attack on a police officer in Northern Ireland was the April 2011 killing of Constable Ronan Kerr, who died when a booby-trap bomb exploded under his car in Omagh.

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