Germany: Ex-IRA member given four years in prison for attack on British barracks | News | DW | 25.10.2017
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Germany: Ex-IRA member given four years in prison for attack on British barracks

The 48-year-old helped launch three mortar rounds into a British barracks in northwestern Germany in 1996. The man had confessed to being an accomplice in July.

Germany 1996 - Provisional IRA attack on British barracks in Osnabrück

German police outside of the British Quebec barracks in 1996

A court in the northwestern German city of Osnabrück sentenced a 48-year-old man from Northern Ireland to four years in prison on Wednesday for participating in a 1996 Irish Republican Army (IRA) mortar attack on a British barracks in the same city.

The man, a British citizen from Belfast, had confessed in July that he was an accomplice in an attack on the British army's Quebec Barracks on June 28, 1996.

Read more: Former IRA member admits to 1996 attack on British barracks in Germany

Along with four co-conspirators from the Provisional IRA, a splinter group, the man had allegedly parked a truck outside the barracks and helped launch three mortar shells into the compound.

Only one of the shells successfully detonated, causing damage to nearby buildings and cars worth around €95,000 ($112,000) in today's money, but failing to hurt any of the 150 British soldiers inside the barracks.

The Osnabrück court said "it was only thanks to chance that no one was harmed."

During the trial, the man also admitted to installing the device onto the truck that was used to fire the mortars.

He said he had not intended to kill any British soldiers, but instead wanted to show them that they were not safe outside of Britain and Ireland.

The defendant further told the court that he had distanced himself from the IRA in the two decades since the attack.

The man had been extradited from the Republic of Ireland to Germany in December to face the charge of attempted murder. German authorities had issued a European Arrest Warrant in 2004, but Irish police only arrested the man in October 2015.

His sentencing is the latest conviction in relation to the 1996 mortar strike. In 2003, another German court gave one of the man's co-conspirators a six-and-a-half year prison sentence for his participation in the attack.

The Provisional IRA, which saw itself as the successor to the IRA, killed nearly 1,800 people from 1970 until it renounced violence in 2005.

amp/kms (dpa, AP)

Editor's note: Deutsche Welle follows the German press code, which stresses the importance of protecting the privacy of suspected criminals or victims and obliges us to refrain from revealing full names in such cases.

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