The outlawed Irish Republican Army said Friday that a British soldier’s wife was shot and killed in the mistaken belief that she was a member of the British armed forces.
Thursday night’s slaying was the third IRA attack in two weeks but the first killing of a woman civilian in years of IRA attacks on British forces in West Germany.
The IRA on Friday acknowledged the killing. The Irish Republican Press Center in Dublin said she was shot “in the belief that she was a member of the British army garrison at Dortmund.”
A British Army spokeswoman identified the dead woman as Heidi Hazell, a West German citizen who had been married for two years and had no children.
“There is a mood of anger here that our families, not just soldiers, can no longer go about their daily business normally,” a British army spokeswoman told the Reuters news agency by telephone from the Moenchengladbach headquarters of the British Army of the Rhine.
Hazell was sitting in her parked car in Unna, near the Ruhr industrial city of Dortmund, when a man dressed in British army fatigues approached and fired 14 rounds at her through the window, a prosecutor’s spokesman said.
He said the weapon was a Soviet-made Kalashnikov submachine gun. The gunman escaped in a car driven by an accomplice, he said.
The IRA is waging an underground war to oust British troops from Northern Ireland and join the province to the Irish republic.