Helicopter attacked as armed groups remain active

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A high powered gun attack took place against a Crown Forces helicopter on Thursday near Newtownbutler, County Fermanagh. The attack took place in the border area near where the Continuity IRA launched a booby-trap attack in 2019.

In a statement, the CIRA said they fired shots at a Crown Force helicopter at Wattlebridge. The organisation said it fired nine shots from a high powered rifle at 11am on Thursday.

They said: “A hoax device had been placed to lure PSNI into the area for a planned gun attack, they failed to arrive but a helicopter flying low to inspect the area was fired upon.

“The pilot carried out an emergency manoeuvre and left ... Nine shots were fired at the helicopter from a high powered semi automatic rifle at the Drumcrin Road, Wattlebridge junction.”

The organisation threatened further attacks in the border area in future.

The PSNI denied their helicopter was damaged or was forced to take evasive action, or even that an attack took place, but nevertheless condemned the incident as the work of “criminals”.

In response to the attack, Sinn Féin councillor Thomas O’Reilly said: the CIRA was “clearly not doing anything to aid society moving forward, particularly at the minute when people are under pressure and this is something that we don’t want happening.”

INLA FINAL SALUTE

In other news, a video has emerged of a volley of shots being fired, apparently by the Irish National Liberation Army, in honour of a Volunteer who died last month.

The tribute took place in the Ballymagroarty area of Derry, and is said to have been organised by members of the Derry Brigade of the INLA.

A masked INLA man fired the shots, flanked by two others carrying flags of the original and current versions of the Starry Plough, the symbol of Irish republican socialists, and a third holding an image of the deceased.

Shortly after the shots rang out, there was a heavy Crown Force response to the area in an attempt to capture those involved. That led to a hoax bomb alert and the discovery of an apparent escape vehicle, but there were no arrests.

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