Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 22 November 2014

Civilians targeted by dissident republicans

Chilling change to terror strategy

Dissident republicans have added civilian workers to their death list. Civilian guards and technicians employed by the Policing Board have now been warned that they could be attacked and killed by Real and Continuity IRA elements.

Hundreds of workers who guard PSNI stations across Northern Ireland and technicians who install and maintain vital communications equipment are now at risk of terrorist attack.

Security sources claim the risk from dissident republicans is now “substantial” and say there is growing evidence that the two main dissident elements are networking more effectively to share intelligence information on targets, and to exchange materials and know-how.

“The latest intelligence information shows the two main dissident elements coming together to the extent that in some areas it is difficult to define who is with what group.

“They are liaising more than ever before and it’s suspected that they are exchanging bits and pieces of kit to help each other.”

“The threat from the two elements overall is assessed as substantial and more workers engaged on contracts for the Policing Board are now in the firing line”, one source said.

Dissidents are being blamed for orchestrating violence in Craigavon last week when vehicles were burned and gunfire was reportedly heard during organised rioting following the arrest of two local republicans.

There is now major concern that a planned demonstration organised by Sinn Fein for next Sunday in Belfast to protest against a homecoming parade for the Royal Irish Regiment after its Afghanistan deployment could lead to major violence with dissident elements planning to exploit the situation. And the risk to technicians who maintain vital radio communication equipment is being taken “extremely seriously” by the Policing Board.

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