Facebook shuts page threatening NIreland police

DUBLIN (AP) ? Facebook has closed a social networking page that encouraged Irish republicans to post pictures and personal details of Northern Ireland police officers.

Facebook took the action Thursday after Northern Ireland police and politicians complained that the page, called Crown Forces Watch, was an intelligence-gathering tool for Irish Republican Army dissidents.

IRA splinter groups regularly plot attacks on police officers, who are most vulnerable when off duty. In April, a policeman was killed when a bomb exploded outside his home under his car.

For decades, Northern Ireland police shielded their names and home addresses from public disclosure because of the threat of IRA attack. Such security has eased since the IRA’s 2005 decisions to disarm and renounce violence.