Warning after Real IRA issue new threat
Published 04/02/2008 | 07:33
Police are being urged to be "on their guard" after the Real IRA announced it was preparing to launch a new offensive.
The paramilitary group said the PSNI would be prime targets, along with British soldiers and British ministers.
It also warned the business community could be targeted saying incendiary devices were highly effective in causing "millions of pounds worth of damage" with minimal risk to civilians.
Speaking to the Belfast Telegraph last night, a Police Federation spokesman said the organisation was aware of the latest threat from dissident republicans.
"We are very aware of this new and very serious threat and urge all police officers to be on their guard," he said.
"There has already been two attempts on officers' lives which have left them injured."
The Federation's warning comes after the paramilitary group broke its " five-year" silence to a Sunday newspaper.
Two representatives of the group's army council told the Sunday Tribune it was planning to launch a new campaign after a major three-year internal reorganisation which included the dismissal of some members in Belfast and elsewhere because they "weren't up to scratch".
They warned of more attacks on police officers and alluded to more fire bomb attacks on businesses, similar to the one carried out at the Shane Retail Park on Boucher Road in 2006.
fifty people lost their jobs at the Homebase store after incendiary devices planted in the shop caused millions of pounds worth of damage.
" With more attacks on the RUC/PSNI we believe we can reach the stage where British soldiers are brought back onto the streets to bolster the cops," the dissidents told the Sunday Tribune.
"This will shatter the facade that the British presence has gone and normality reigns. People will again be made visibly aware that we remain occupied.
And while it views members of the Stormont executive, including Martin McGuinness, as " British ministers" and hence "legitimate targets", the group said it was unlikely to attack them.
"Targets aren't always chosen on legitimacy but on whether hitting them would be politically expedient or counter-productive and on the likely effect on public support, " the Real IRA leader said. But this decision would be "kept under review" .