Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 30 August 2014

We threw grenade at police, claim dissidents

A dissident terror faction has claimed another grenade attack on police — the second in the space of several days.

The latest statement from Oglaigh na hEireann (ONH) came on Monday just hours after the PSNI had appealed for information about a loud bang heard on Barnfield Road in Dunmurry on the outskirts of Belfast in the early hours of Monday morning.

Then, in a telephoned statement, authenticated with a recognised codeword, ONH claimed to have lobbed a grenade at police. It was the second such incident and statement in recent days.

Last week police were targeted at Twinbrook when a device was thrown at an armoured car. No one was hurt but a number of vehicles were damaged.

Admitting that attack, ONH said more would follow — the latest incident appears to be confirmation of that threat.

The overall dissident threat is still assessed as being “severe” — with police officers the main targets.

Oglaigh na hEireann is the faction behind the “headline” attack on Palace Barracks two years ago — the military base in Holywood which houses the MI5 Northern Ireland Headquarters.

The group is also closely linked to Republican Network for Unity (RNU), which has now responded to Sinn Fein’s offer of dialogue — repeated by Martin McGuinness at the party’s recent ard fheis held in Killarney.

The response comes in a recorded interview with spokesman Ciaran Cunningham and placed on a website.

Cunningham, a member of the RNU leadership and Ard Chomhairle, said it would be “a sign of weakness” not to respond, but added he would want guarantees that the process would be “genuine” and “not a stunt”.

He told the Belfast Telegraph there has been email contact between RNU and Sinn Fein, and accused Sinn Fein of “trying to restrict the agenda to armed actions — the credibility and morality of armed actions”.

Cunningham said “a whole range of issues” needed to be discussed and argued there should be “no boundaries” to any dialogue.

Responding, a Sinn Fein spokesman said: “We are up for dialogue.

“Martin McGuinness set that out in clear terms at the ard fheis. We are not running away from talks.”

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