A sleeping Catholic woman was shot and killed Tuesday in what police and politicians fear was retaliation for recent Irish Republican Army attacks.
Bernadette Martin, 18, died 12 hours after being shot four times in the head as she slept in her Protestant boyfriend’s family home in rural Aghalee, about 10 miles southwest of Belfast. There was no claim of responsibility.
But dissident members of Northern Ireland’s pro-British paramilitary groups were suspected of involvement. The groups officially are sticking to an October 1994 cease-fire and their leaders were meeting with Prime Minister Tony Blair in London as Martin died in Belfast’s Royal Victoria Hospital.
Martin came from Lurgan, where the IRA killed two Protestant policemen June 16. And IRA gunmen have been blamed for the shootings of three Protestant teenagers during riots last week in Belfast.
With an estimated 20 shots fired early Tuesday into a Protestant neighborhood in north Belfast, pressure for retaliation against Catholics has been mounting.
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