Queen Elizabeth II Shakes Hands with Former IRA Leader

TOBY MELVILLE/AFP/Getty Images(BELFAST, Northern Ireland) -- In an event that was once considered unthinkable, Queen Elizabeth II shook hands on Wednesday with Martin McGuinness, a former commander of the Irish Republican Army who was once her sworn enemy.

McGuinness, now Ireland's deputy first minister, was a deputy leader of the IRA when it assassinated the Queen's cousin back in 1979.  The paramilitary fought against British rule for three decades.

Wednesday's historic handshake in Belfast is perhaps the symbolic end to one of the longest running sectarian conflicts in history.

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