Alleged IRA commander, 2 others charged in Belfast

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BELFAST, Northern Ireland (AP) - One of Northern Ireland's most prominent Irish republican militants has been charged with conspiring to possess weapons and kill police and soldiers.

Colin Duffy, who is reputed to be the Irish Republican Army commander in the town of Lurgan, has successfully defended himself in three previous murder trials.

The 47-year-old offered no plea during his arraignment Tuesday in a Belfast court alongside 52-year-old Alex McCrory and 48-year-old Henry Fitzsimmons. Duffy was charged with conspiring to acquire weapons and kill security force members, the other two with shooting at a Belfast police patrol on Dec. 5.

Duffy previously was charged with murdering two policemen in Lurgan in 1997, two soldiers in Antrim in 2009, and a Protestant ex-soldier in Lurgan in 1993. He was acquitted in all three cases.

(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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