Northern Ireland fears the return of terrorism as an Irish dissent group killed a police officer in Northern Ireland on Monday, just 48 hours after two soldiers were killed while collecting pizzas.
Police constable Stephen Carroll was shot dead in Craigavon when he was on a patrol to investigate a "suspicious activity".
Members of the Continuity Irish Republican Army (CIRA) — one of several dissident republican paramilitary groups in the country opposed to the peace process --- claimed responsibility for the killing of the policeman. Meanwhile the Real Irish Republican Army (RIRA) was suspected to be behind the shooting of the soldiers. This is first such incident after one was killed in 1998.
On Saturday, two British soldiers were killed outside the Massereene Army base, Antrim. Authorities blame the Real Irish Republican Army (RIRA) for the killings.
The CIRA and RIRA are both paramilitary organisations that are designated illegal in the Republic of Ireland. While the RIRA aims to bring about a united Ireland, the CIRA has not announced a ceasefire or agreed to participate in weapons decommissioning.
Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adam's reluctance to condemn the killings angered the loyalists, stoking fear of counter violence.
But British Prime Minister Gordon Brown was quick to declare that there would be "no return to the old days".
"These murderers are trying to distort, disrupt and destroy a political process that is working for the people of Northern Ireland," said Brown.