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14 March  
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1984: Sinn Fein leader shot in street attack
Gunmen have shot and wounded the Sinn Fein president, Gerry Adams, in an attack in central Belfast.

He was hit in the neck, shoulder and arm as several gunmen riddled his car with about 20 bullets.

Three people travelling with Mr Adams were also wounded in the shooting, which took place in front of terrified shoppers.

None was seriously hurt and a fourth man escaped injury.

After the shooting, under-cover plain clothes police officers seized three suspects.

'Legitimate target'

Mr Adams, 35, was on a lunch break during a trial in which he is facing obstruction charges.

He was taken to Belfast hospital and had surgery to remove three bullets. He is said to be in a stable condition.

The outlawed Loyalist group, the Ulster Freedom Fighters, has admitted carrying out the attack.

In a statement issued hours after the shooting, the UFF claimed Mr Adams was "responsible for the continuing murder campaign being waged against Ulster protestants and is therefore regarded as a legitimate target of war".

A Sinn Fein spokesman confirmed the three other people hurt were also members of its organisation. They were among Mr Adam's co-defendants in the dock.

The charges stem from an incident during the run-up to last June's general election, when the men were accused of trying to stop police from tearing down an Irish tricolour in Belfast.

Six weeks ago, Mr Adams said he believed he had a 90% chance of being assassinated.

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Gerry Adams head shot
Gerry Adams was shot in the neck, shoulder and arm



In Context
Gerry Adams became MP for Belfast West and was elected Sinn Fein president in 1983, making him a pivotal figure in the republican movement.

From his hospital bed, Gerry Adams, accused the British army of having prior knowledge of the attack and allowing it to go ahead.

Mr Adams left hospital five days after the attack, but reportedly still suffers pain from the injuries.

He has denied ever being a member of the IRA.

Two Loyalist gunmen, John Gregg, 27, and Gerard Welsh, 34, were jailed for 18 years in March 1985 for the attempted murder of Mr Adams. A third man, getaway driver Colin Gray, 28, was sentenced to 12 years.

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