28/07/2008

Republican Threat Level 'Higher Than Any Other'

The threat to the UK from 'dissident' Irish republicans is greater than from any other terrorist group.

According to the latest intelligence service surveillance from MI5, organisations such as the Real IRA and the Continuity IRA currently pose a greater danger than even Islamic extremists.

The Police Service of Northern Ireland Chief Constable Sir Hugh Orde has said the threat from republicans opposed to the peace process is the highest at any time this decade.

NI Executive Junior Minister, Jeffrey Donaldson, (pictured) said: "This information comes as no surprise to me as I'm aware of the very high level of activity that there is at the minute from dissident republicans.

"This activity is targeted at members of the security forces and prison services and the threat level is very high at the moment."
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He was speaking on foot of news that more than 60% of all electronic information intercepted through wiretaps and other covert operations related to dissident republicans.

These same dissidents have claimed responsibility for murder bids on five police officers in Northern Ireland since November.

They said the Real IRA and Continuity IRA's short-term goal is to kill a Catholic police officer in the hope of deterring young Catholics and nationalists from joining the PSNI.

Dissident republican groups were formed after mainstream paramilitary organisations such as the IRA declared ceasefires in the mid 1990s.

Since then they have been involved in sporadic campaigns of violence, most notoriously in 1998 when a Real IRA bomb attack claimed the lives of 29 people, including a woman pregnant with twins, in Omagh, Co Tyrone.

See: PSNI To Bring Back Checkpoints

(BMcC)

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