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Northern Ireland parliament attacker charged

[JURIST] Loyalist militant Michael Stone [CNN profile] was charged Saturday with 5 counts of attempted murder after he threw a package of explosives into the entrance of the Stormont parliament buildings [virtual tour] in Belfast, Northern Ireland, on Friday and attempted to force his way past security guards. The recently-reconstituted Northern Ireland Assembly [official website] was in session at the time, meeting to move forward the critical process of selecting a new First Minister for the troubled United Kingdom region, when the attack took place. Stone's declared targets were unionist Sinn Fein [party website] leaders Gerry Adams [BBC profile; Sinn Fein profile] and Martin McGuiness [BBC profile], Sinn Fein's chief negotiator. Stone has also been charged with possession of items likely to be used in terrorist activity such as explosives and other weapons. He was released from life imprisonment six years ago under the 1988 Good Friday peace agreement [text]. His prior incarceration resulted from an attack on an IRA funeral 20 years ago in 1988.

In July 2005, the IRA announced that it was ending its "armed campaign" [JURIST report] for the independence of Northern Ireland from Britain in favor of a political process. Reuters has more.

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