Belfast Telegraph

Brokenshire warns over a continuing terror threat

By Jon Vale

The threat level from terrorism in Northern Ireland remains severe, the Government has warned, as it emerged six people have died in paramilitary attacks this year.

Northern Ireland Secretary James Brokenshire also said 103 people have been arrested in connection with terrorism in Northern Ireland in 2016, as he called for vigilance "in the face of this continuing threat" from dissident republicans.

In a written statement to Parliament, Mr Brokenshire said the threat level in Northern Ireland remains severe, meaning an attack is highly likely. He said the threat to Great Britain remains substantial, having been raised from moderate in May, which means an attack is a strong possibility.

Mr Brokenshire said: "In Northern Ireland, these terrorists have targeted the brave people who serve the community day in, day out, including the police, prison officers and the military. Dissident republicans are relatively small, disparate and factional groupings, but they are also determined and have lethal intent."

Six people been have killed as a result of paramilitary activity this year, Mr Brokenshire said, with 17 people injured in shootings and 57 in assaults. There were 103 arrests, 17 people charged and five recent convictions throughout 2016.

"There never has been and there never will be any place for terrorism or paramilitary activity in Northern Ireland," said Mr Brokenshire.

"We must all play our part in ensuring that Northern Ireland continues to flourish, free of any such pernicious activity."

There have also been three further attacks on security personnel since the death of prison officer Adrian Ismay in March, Mr Brokenshire said. However, there have been just four national security attacks in 2016, down from 16 last year and 40 in 2010.

Ulster Unionist MP Tom Elliott said: "The statement from the Secretary of State makes abundantly clear that the terrorist threat in Northern Ireland is not just a thing of the past, but unfortunately is alive and well in the present."

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