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Northern Ireland Police Targeted with Firebombs Ahead of Biden’s Visit

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Irish authorities said Monday that masked men hurled petrol bombs and other objects at Northern Ireland police in a show of opposition to the Good Friday peace agreement.

The attack on a police car in Londonderry comes a day before US President Joe Biden’s visit to Belfast.

A Reuters picture showed four young men in the predominantly Irish nationalist area of ​​Creggan throwing petrol bombs at a police van, which was covered in flames on one side.

The crowd dispersed soon after, and police said no one was hurt.

Derry City and Strabane Police Chief Constable Nigel Goddard said: “What we’ve seen develop this evening in Cregan has been incredibly disheartening”.

“This was a senseless and reckless attack on our officers who were present in the area in order to carry out our legal duties,” he added.

He said police had deployed resources to gather evidence, and obtained footage that will now be reviewed as part of the investigation into possible crimes under the Terrorism Act 2000.

Monday marked the 25th anniversary of the signing of the Good Friday Agreement that largely ended three decades of sectarian bloodshed in Northern Ireland. There are still some sporadic acts of violence by small groups opposed to the agreement.

Britain’s intelligence agency MI5 late last month raised the threat level in Northern Ireland from domestic terrorism to severe – meaning an attack is highly likely.

It has mostly been in the second highest category since its introduction in 2010 and was brought up after an off-duty police officer was seriously injured following an armed attack by the New Irish Republican Army, one of the smaller splinter armed groups.

Biden is due to arrive in Belfast on Tuesday and deliver a speech at a university in Belfast on Wednesday before traveling to Ireland for another three days.

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