November 11, 2015 / 11:21 PM / 2 years ago

Ex-soldier arrested over Northern Ireland 1972 killings released on bail

BELFAST (Reuters) - The 66-year-old former British soldier arrested in relation to the killing of 13 Roman Catholic civil rights marchers in Northern Ireland over 40 years ago has been released on bail pending further inquiries, police said on Wednesday.

A man carries a copy of the long awaited Saville report on the 1972 Bloody Sunday shootings after victims' relatives were allowed to view it, at the Guidhall in Londonderry June 15, 2010. REUTERS/Paul Faith/POOL

The arrest on Tuesday was the first in a renewed murder investigation announced by police in 2012 into the “Bloody Sunday” killings in Londonderry, one of the most notorious episodes during 30 years of sectarian violence in the British-ruled province.

On Sunday, Jan. 30, 1972, British troops opened fire during an unauthorized march in the Bogside, a nationalist area of Londonderry. They killed 13 people and wounded 14, one of whom died later. The victims were all unarmed Catholics.

A 1998 peace deal, brokered after more than 3,600 had died, has largely ended the conflict that pitted mostly Catholics, who wanted a united Ireland, against Unionists, mostly Protestants, who wanted it to remain part of the United Kingdom.

The former solider who was arrested has not been named. He was held in a county Antrim police interrogation center for questioning. Soldiers who gave evidence to a 2010 judicial inquiry that concluded that the civilians had been killed without justification did so from behind screens and with a guarantee of anonymity.

Reporting by Padraic Halpin in Dublin; Editing by Tom Brown

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