Previously lost footage revealing how IRA trained new recruits in weapons classes to be broadcast
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Previously lost footage revealing how IRA trained new recruits in weapons classes to be broadcast

RARELY SEEN footage documenting how the IRA trained new recruits in weapons classes is set to be aired by the BBC this week.

The footage is taken from a lost American documentary about the IRA which is being shown as part of the BBC documentary series Spotlight on The Troubles: A Secret History.

Made to mark the 50th anniversary of the start of the troubles, the BBC Northern Ireland series will also air footage of a bomb attack being planned out and executed in Belfast and gunmen in Derry.

The US documentary captured a Belfast IRA meeting led by future chief of staff Seamus Twomey, IRA attempts to shoot down helicopters in Derry, and the funeral of IRA member Colm Keenan.

It was all filmed as part of a rarely seen film called The Secret Army, based on a book of the same name by New York academic J Bowyer Bell.

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The documentary crew was given unrestricted access to IRA members conducting a series of attacks at the time, often without any masks to protect their identity.

It came at the height of the Troubles and a period in which the IRA killed more than 800 people.

Footage from the documentary shows the planning and execution of a May 1972 bomb attack on the Queen's University Sports Hall at Upper Malone, Belfast.

Filmed in 1972 and aired several times in the US, the film’s disappearance is set to be explained later in the series.

The footage will air as part of the second episode of Spotlight on the Troubles: A Secret History which will be shown on September 17 at 9pm on BBC One Northern Ireland and BBC Four.

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The documentary previously showed unseen footage of Martin McGuinness carrying weapons and playing a part in a car bomb attack in Derry back in 1972.

You can watch the first episode on BBC iPlayer now