I.R.A. Ex-Commander to Shake Hands With Queen

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DUBLIN — In one of the most anticipated gestures in recent Irish history, a former commander of the Irish Republican Army will shake hands next week in Belfast with Queen Elizabeth II, once a prime target of I.R.A. attacks, the group’s onetime political wing announced Friday.

The former commander, Martin McGuinness, enjoys near-legendary status among Irish nationalists and was long considered one of Britain’s greatest enemies. Since the cease-fire in 1997 that effectively ended the I.R.A.’s 30-year armed campaign against British rule, he has enjoyed a successful political career and is Northern Ireland’s deputy first minister.

Sinn Fein, the political arm before the I.R.A. disbanded, said that its executive committee decided — not unanimously — on Friday to allow him to attend a charity event next Wednesday, where the queen, Prince Philip and President Michael D. Higgins of Ireland will be guests....

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