DUBLIN, Ireland - In what was described as a shockingly realistic simulation of a terrorist attack, the country's law enforcement bodies staged a training exercise in one of the busiest parts of the Irish capital.
The multi-agency anti-terror training exercise led by the An Garda Siochana brought the Dublin City University to a standstill as a simulated college shooting and hostage situation was designed and played out.
The exercise, designed to test and prepare Ireland's primary responders for 'mass casualty terrorist attacks' in Dublin, involved the elite Garda Emergency Response Unit, the Defence Forces, the National Ambulance Service, the Dublin Fire Brigade and about 50 actors that played out a fake attack at the campus on Friday evening.
The 'live' major emergency practice involved a situation in which the GardaControl Centre received a 999 call that there has been a serious traffic collision on the campus at Dublin City University.
As part of the drill, the car involved in the road collision is driven into a nearby car park, after which a number of assailants exit the vehicle and started stabbing and shooting by-standers.
Then, the assailants enter the building and take a number of people hostage, leaving first responders to deal with the situation.
The initial phase of the real-time response after an alarm is raised involved local Garda units responding to the incident and immediately placing temporary road closures and diversions around the college grounds.
Soon, the Armed Support Unit, the Emergency Response Unit, a host of ambulances and Dublin Fire Brigade units arrive at the university campus.
The Garda units manage to shoot one of the assailants, but two others head into a building and take hostages.
The Operation Baraccuda ends with the two other assailants being shot dead by armed Gardai that storm the building and rescue the hostages safely.
Gardai said that this was the first time the Primary Response Agencies took part in a joint exercise that had specifically been designed to replicate the resources typically available on a Friday night and to test the interoperability of agencies.
Officials said that the Armed Response Unit and emergency response teams had used specialized technology and a trained negotiator to deal with the incident.
A spokesperson for the An Garda Siochana explained earlier, During the course of the exercise variable interjections will be introduced into each scenario. Due to the nature of this exercise, all media will be required to comply with all directions given by appointed media liaison staff. It should be noted that this is a learning exercise and interjections will be used to challenge all participants.
Citing the months-long preparation for the operation, Garda Special Tactics and Operations Command, Donal ODriscoll said the exercise had been extremely successful."
Gardai have stated that the exercise will now be evaluated.