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Red Hand Defenders

Relatively little is known about the Red Hand Defenders (RHD), a Northern Irish terrorist organization that has claimed responsibility for a number of attacks on Roman Catholics beginning in 1998.

Since the late 1960s, Northern Ireland has seen war between the province's Catholics, who want Northern Ireland to become part of the Republic of Ireland, and the province's Protestants, who want it to continue as part of the United Kingdom. Both Protestants and Catholics field armed paramilitary groups that use violence to achieve their ends. In April 1998, the governments of Britain and Ireland signed a peace agreement known as the Good Friday Accords; this agreement lays out a plan to achieve political stability in Northern Ireland and includes a provision that persons imprisoned for terrorist activities on behalf of the paramilitary groups would be released on a specific timetable.

Hard-line factions in both Loyalist ...

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