Northern Ireland police arrested three men today over the killings of two British soldiers in a gun attack at an army base by suspected republican dissidents. Police in Belfast said that the suspects, aged 41, 32 and 21, were arrested in early raids at two separate locations and are being questioned by detectives. Two Corps of Royal Engineers soldiers - Cengiz "Patrick" Azimkar, 21, and Mark Quinsey, 23 - were shot dead on March 7 outside their army base in Antrim, west of Belfast, as they collected pizzas from a delivery men.
Two other soldiers and both Domino's Pizza couriers were badly wounded and remain hospitalised a week later. Detectives are also continuing to question three suspects on suspicion of involvement in the killing of a policeman. Irish Republican Army splinter groups responsible for recent killings, after a 12-year ceasfire in Northern Ireland, struck last Monday when Constable Stephen Carroll, 48, was shot fatally through the back of the head.
Police arrested two people - a 17-year-old boy and a 37-year-old man - the day after that killing near the scene of the ambush. They arrested a third man in his mid-20s on Friday night. None of the suspects has been publicly identified. The hunt for the killers coincides with continuing public grief over Northern Ireland's descent back into bloodshed. A day after thousands of people attended Mr Carroll's funeral, Catholic and Protestant church leaders planned to rally the public this afternoon at the army base in Antrim. The dissidents trying to unravel the IRA's 1997 ceasefire insist they have no intention of ending their threat to kill British security forces and the civilians who work with them - the policy that the IRA pursued during its own 1970-97 campaign to reunite Northern Ireland, now part of the United Kingdom, with Ireland. *AP