Monday, 30 July 2007

Army NI operation comes to an end

The British Army's emergency operation in Northern Ireland comes to an end at midnight after 38 years.
Operation Banner is the Army's longest continuous campaign in its history with more than 300,000 personnel serving and 763 directly killed by paramilitaries.

A garrison of 5,000 troops will remain but security will be entirely the responsibility of the police.

British troops were sent to Northern Ireland in 1969 after violent clashes between Catholics and Protestants.

Catholic civil rights marchers were met by counter-protests by Protestant loyalists and the Army initially arrived as peacekeepers.

But when the Provisional IRA began its bombing campaign the Army increasingly became the targets.