N. Ireland Violence Intensifies

A police officer has been shot dead in a republican stronghold in Northern Ireland—the third such killing in 48 hours. The violence is testing the province’s fragile peace, and loyalist paramilitaries may retaliate. “We are tonight staring into the abyss,” said a member of the nationalist Social Democratic and Labor Party. “I would appeal to people to pull back.” On Monday night, the officer and a colleague were responding to a call about “suspicious activity” in County Armagh when their patrol cars were attacked they were fired on; the second officer was injured. Two days earlier, a pair of unarmed soldiers were shot dead as they picked up pizzas in County Antrim. “Loyalist paramilitaries have so far resisted reaction, despite numerous attacks against police officers over the past 18 months,” The Times of London reports. “But while the death of soldiers is regarded as an attack on the British state, the murder of a local police officer may be interpreted as an attack on the local unionist community.”