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IRA threatens revenge against family blamed for killing one of its members

An Irish Republican Army chieftain threatened Friday to punish a local family that has been blamed for killing one of its members in the IRA’s border heartland of South Armagh. Several hundred mourners gathered at the graveside of Keith Rodgers, 24, who was fatally shot in the chest Wednesday when he and other IRA members confronted a father and son in the Northern Ireland border village of Cullaville. A bagpiper marched in front of Rodgers’ coffin, which was draped with a green, white and orange Irish flag, before its burial beside the rural Catholic Church of the Sacred Heart in Shelagh, a hamlet in the Irish Republic. Brian Keenan, described by police and independent historians as one of the IRA’s seven commanders, told mourners that Rodgers’ killers were “a band of vermin” who would be driven from the area. He said IRA commanders should avoid immediate vengeance but “will no doubt make their position very clear.” The IRA, which claimed Rodgers as a member in a separate statement, said he died “while defending his community against armed criminals.” Full Story

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