Belfast Telegraph

Dissident republican bomb attack was targeted using Facebook

By Brian Rowan

A soldier who narrowly escaped a dissident republican bomb attack was targeted using Facebook, the Belfast Telegraph can reveal.

The Scottish soldier's alarming security blunder could have cost him his life during a festive visit to Belfast.

And a week after the discovery of a deadly booby-trap device inside his car, new information points to a disturbing catalogue of security lapses.

The latest revelations will further anger police chiefs already furious over the military security breaches which allowed the attack to be carried out.

The story, outlined to this newspaper, is one of a series of major errors with potentially fatal consequences.

Last week a device was discovered inside a soldier's car at the home of his girlfriend in Ligoniel in north Belfast.

A stolen military grenade fitted with a magnet had been concealed under the driver's seat inside the vehicle with a trip wire linked to the buckle of the seatbelt.

Oglaigh na hEireann (ONH) was behind the murder plot.

The terror faction learned that three soldiers were visiting the house in Ligoniel over the holiday period.

And, in another security blunder, the soldiers were also tailed as they travelled into Andersonstown in west Belfast, and, a short time later, were also observed using a taxi to travel to the city centre.

ONH was then given the name of one of the soldiers, and confirmed his identity using a photograph on the Facebook website.

According to a source, it showed him in uniform sitting on a tank.

The dissident group also used the Facebook site to build up an intelligence picture on the soldier before the attack.

Dissidents also claim the Scottish soldier, who recently served in Afghanistan, met his Belfast girlfriend on Facebook.

It was this soldier who was eventually targeted in the planned grenade attack but, luckily, he discovered the device.

Suggestions that he had left his car door open may not be correct.

In the developing events of last week, the young woman was ordered to leave her home.

A source revealed that hooded members of ONH visited her last Friday, giving her a midnight deadline to get out.

"She's away," the source told this newspaper.

The emerging story suggests the lives of three soldiers, not one, were under threat.

A dissident said there was nothing "discreet" about their visit.

"They think the war's over," the source continued.

"This (the planned attack) tells them it's not," he said.

Background

The Belfast Telegraph revealed on Saturday that police chiefs were furious over the security blunders which led to the dissident republican murder bid on the soldier. A security source told this paper: "The Army needs to get things sorted out. These guys need to think about how and where they are running around when they are over here."

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