The New IRA has purportedly claimed responsibility for the shooting of off-duty PSNI officer John Caldwell in Omagh, Co Tyrone on Wednesday, February 22 while police continue to appeal for information.
“The Irish Republican Army claim responsibility for the military operation targeting senior Crown Force member John Caldwell,” a typed statement posted on a wall in Derry and shared on social media on Sunday, February 26 said.
“An active service unit of the IRA were in position to target the enemy within our chosen kill zone with other armed volunteers giving cover.
“All volunteers returned safely to base.
“Irish Republican Army intelligence are now in possession of security information regarding the out of bounds movement of Crown Force personnel.
“We would say this, you still have to try and live a normal life day-to-day, one of these days the IRA will be waiting.”
The statement is signed by “T. O’Neill,” a name which, according to The Belfast Telegraph, has been used by the dissident republican group in the past.
Breaking: The New IRA, tonight have admitted responsibility for shooting DCI John Caldwell.
In a statement using a recognised code name they said:
“The Irish Republican Army claim responsibility for the military operation targeting senior Crown Force member, John Caldwell. pic.twitter.com/b0H3nY02TM— Kevin Scott (@Kscott_94) February 26, 2023
“Police are aware of the claim of responsibility," PSNI Assistant Chief Constable Mark McEwan said on Monday, according to The PA.
“We are currently reviewing its contents as part of the overall investigation."
McEwan added: “On Friday, we confirmed that we were treating the attempted murder of DCI John Caldwell as terrorst-related and our primary line of inquiry was the New IRA.”
Detective Chief Inspector John Caldwell remains hospitalized in "critical but stable condition" after being shot multiple times by two gunmen on Wednesday, February 22 as he loaded footballs into the boot of his car at the youth sports center on Killyclogher Road in Omagh, Co Tyrone.
Six people have been arrested in relation to the incident that has been jointly condemned by Northern Ireland's political leaders.
Speaking to the media on Monday, Detective Chief Superintendent Eamonn Corrigan said police believe that "at least 10 shots were fired by the gunmen in front of terrified children and parents," including Caldwell's son.
PSNI released CCTV footage of the car used by the gunmen on Monday.
"This is a blue Ford Fiesta, Registration Number MGZ 6242," Corrigan said of the car in the footage. "It was then fitted with false plates, FRZ 8414, prior to the attack.
“Our CCTV footage shows the car leaving the sports complex and turning left onto the Killyclogher Road immediately after the shooting. We then know it travelled past Glendale Service Station to the Racolpa Road where they abandoned the car and set it on fire.
“We have established that the car was purchased in Ballyclare on Wednesday 8 February and was observed travelling towards Belfast on the M2 Motorway that night. It was next noted leaving Belfast at around 9:30 pm on Tuesday 21 February - the night before the attack on John – and traveled along the M1 Motorway in the direction of Coalisland/Omagh.
“My appeal today is for anyone who knows where this car was kept in Belfast in the preceding two weeks or anyone who knows where it was stored after it travelled to Omagh on the Tuesday night."
Corrigan added: “I am also appealing for anyone who observed anything suspicious in the Racolpa Road area on Wednesday evening.
"Did you see anyone or any vehicles on the road? Did you observe any vehicles driving away from the area at speed?
“I continue to ask for the public’s help to bring those responsible for this senseless attack to justice and would appeal to witnesses or those with information to please get in touch by calling 101.
“I am also keen to highlight a reward of up to £20,000 from Crimestoppers, who are a charity and independent of the police. The reward is offered for information given directly to Crimestoppers that leads to the arrest and conviction of those responsible for John’s attempted murder. Crimestoppers will ensure that you remain anonymous."