An off-duty police officer was shot in Northern Ireland on Wednesday night in what the region’s politicians condemned as a “shameful” attack committed by “terrorists”.

“One man, a serving police officer, has been taken to hospital for treatment after being injured in a shooting incident at a sports complex just before 8pm this evening,” the Police Service of Northern Ireland said in a statement.

The man was in critical condition, according to unconfirmed reports. Tom Elliott, a local Ulster Unionist Party legislator, tweeted that the officer was “shot in front of young people at football coaching session”.

No further details were immediately confirmed, but the attack was a bitter reminder of Northern Ireland’s three decades-old conflict in which republicans fought to end British rule and loyalist paramilitaries battled to keep it part of the UK.

No group immediately claimed responsibility for the shooting, which bore the hallmarks of attacks by dissident republican paramilitaries and came just over a month before the 25th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement on April 10.

That accord ended the conflict, known as the Troubles, and established a power-sharing political framework for the region.

“This is an outrageous and shameful attack,” tweeted Michelle O’Neill, first minister-designate for the nationalist Sinn Féin party. “I unreservedly condemn this reprehensible attempt to murder a police officer.”

Sir Jeffrey Donaldson, leader of the Democratic Unionist Party, said: “These terrorists have nothing to offer and they must be brought to justice.”

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