LONDON — The Irish Republican Army on Saturday claimed responsibility for the shooting deaths of two British army men, one in West Germany and the other in England.
Gunmen of the group fighting British rule in Northern Ireland killed an army major Saturday outside his home in Dortmund, West Germany, and wounded a police officer afterward during a chase.
In the central English town of Lichfield, police hunted for two men who shot and killed a soldier and wounded two others waiting for a train late Friday.
"While British troops remain in Ireland, such attacks will continue," the IRA said in a statement distributed to the news media in Dublin, Ireland.
Last Sunday, IRA gunmen killed two London-based Australian lawyers in the town square in Roermond, Netherlands. The IRA later said it had mistaken the men for soldiers.
"There is no argument or reason in this. It is simply that they are out to kill," Defense Secretary Tom King said Saturday in an interview with Press Association, the domestic news agency.
The attacks in the Netherlands, Germany and England continued an IRA strategy of attacking "soft" targets associated with the British army, such as off-duty soldiers and recruiting centers.
The IRA, a mainly Roman Catholic group, seeks to unite Ireland under a socialist government. It is outlawed both in the predominantly Catholic Republic of Ireland and in Northern Ireland, a British province where paramilitary Protestant groups side with London.
Rolf Hannich, a spokesman for the West German federal prosecutor, said Maj. Michael John Dillon-Lee was shot several times in the head as he returned to his home in a British army housing area in Dortmund just after midnight.
"Shots were fired from the Mazda at the police cars chasing it, and one policeman was hit in the foot," Hannich said. The car was later found abandoned.