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Increase in terror is no surprise given the imminent election

By Brian Rowan

Published 04/05/2015

After a lengthy period of quiet the violent dissident republican organisations are back on the stage.

In little over a week there have been three bombs - the latest in north Belfast intended for an attack on police.

It is another incident that follows a now familiar script line.

The clear intention was to kill officers, but the bomb failed to explode and was abandoned.

A priest then received a telephone call at a minute after midnight.

The man on the line did not identify the organisation he represented, nor did he give a codeword when asked.

These calls, whether to priests, journalists or others, don't last long.

They are the shortest of contacts and matter-of-fact.

Father Gary Donegan was given a location for the bomb, told it was meant for police and that it hadn't gone off.

It is the third incident since April 22, the others an attack on police in the New Lodge in north Belfast when the device exploded in mid-air, and then the explosion at the Probation Board office in Londonderry.

What we are seeing is a very deliberate period of activity and the timing is also significant.

It is the dissidents trying to get noticed in the run-up to the election, reminding everyone that they are still out there.

MI5 and PSNI intelligence will know the particular dangers at times like this, will know how these different groups, the dissident IRA and Oglaigh na hEireann, may well try something else, another attack, and soon.

So, in police briefings it will mean re-emphasising the dangers and underscoring the need for vigilance.

That dissident threat has not yet gone away.

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