The police in Northern Ireland arrested a 66-year-old man on Tuesday in connection with Bloody Sunday, the infamous massacre of unarmed civilian marchers by British soldiers in Londonderry on Jan. 30, 1972. It was the first time anyone had been arrested in the massacre, for which the British government formally apologized in 2010.
The former soldier, whose name was not made public, was arrested in County Antrim and taken to a police station in Belfast for questioning. The BBC reported that he was a lance corporal in 1972 — identified in a 2010 report by the pseudonymous initial “J.” He is believed to have been involved in three of the 13 killings that day. A 14th victim died months later.
J was a member of the Parachute Regiment, the army unit most hated by Catholic nationalists during the Troubles, the 30-year struggle over the status of Northern Ireland. Five months before Bloody Sunday, members of the regiment fatally shot 11 unarmed civilians in Belfast. In retaliation, the Irish Republican Army blew up the regiment’s base in Aldershot, England, in 1974, killing seven people.
The Troubles, which claimed 3,600 lives, largely ended with the 1998 Good Friday agreement, when paramilitary groups like the IRA agreed to cease hostilities and the governments of Britain and Ireland, along with the major political parties in Northern Ireland, agreed on a complex set of power-sharing arrangements for the British territory.