Northern Ireland investigators have classified the shooting of a police officer in the city of Omagh as a terrorist act. This was announced by the police in the British province. The police officer was seriously injured in the attack.

The focus of the investigation is therefore still the paramilitary group New IRA. There had previously been four arrests in connection with the crime.

Masked men fired several shots at a police officer while he was loading footballs into a car with his son after a practice session in the town of Omagh on Wednesday night. The victim was in critical condition at the hospital, police said. It is said to be a senior officer who investigated paramilitary and drug-related crime.

The New IRA is a coalition of splinter groups of the paramilitary IRA (Irish Republican Army), which fought for a union of Northern Ireland with the Republic of Ireland in the decades-long civil war. At the end of the 1990s, the IRA laid down its arms and peace was concluded in the Good Friday Agreement. But some militants remained active, including among Protestant supporters of the union with Britain. The paramilitary groups in Northern Ireland are closely linked to organized crime.