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British PM Says N. Ireland Shootings Will Not Derail Peace Process


British Prime Minister Gordon Brown said Sunday that the killing of two soldiers in Northern Ireland will not derail the peace process.

In his first statement since the attack Saturday, Mr. Brown vowed the assailants will be caught.

Police said two soldiers and two civilians were also wounded in the attack at an army base in Antrim about 25 kilometers north of Belfast.

Reports on the incident say base security personnel walked into an ambush when they approached a vehicle they thought was delivering pizza. Witnesses said they heard two long bursts of gunfire.

No group has taken responsibility for the attack. On Friday, Northern Ireland's police chief Hugh Orde had warned that the threat from dissident terrorists was higher than he has seen in years.

In January, security forces defused a 136 kilogram bomb found in Castlewellan, a town 50 kilometers south of Belfast. Some authorities speculated it might have been intended for use at a nearby military barracks.

In 1998, the so-called "Good Friday" peace agreement ended three decades of sectarian violence that claimed an estimated 3,600 lives. Protestant Unionists and Catholic Republicans are joined in a power-sharing government. But dissident republican paramilitaries, who opposed the peace process, have conducted sporadic gun and bomb attacks since 1997 when they split from the Irish Republican Army.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and AP.

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