Belfast Telegraph

Real IRA mole hunt after attack thwarted

A hunt for an informer in the ranks has been ordered by the leader of one of the Real IRA's most-feared terror units.

A hunt for an informer in the ranks has been ordered by the leader of one of the Real IRA's most-feared terror units.

The dissident republican leader in south Down has ordered a trawl to track down a suspected mole who, he believes, compromised a planned terrorist 'spectacular'.

The security forces flooded the Kilcoo area, outside Castlewellan, earlier this month as part of a four-day operation aimed at disrupting the activities of the group.

Security sources have refused to confirm that they had intelligence of an imminent attack.

And they are refusing to comment on speculation that they moved to thwart a landmine attack on a passing police patrol - or that the search operation was mounted as a direct result of information received from an informer within the ranks of the terror cell.

One security source said: "I do not doubt that lives were saved. For example, there was a suspicion that the recent postal bomb attacks were being driven from the Castlewellan area."

The Real IRA has been one of the most active republican terror gangs in Ulster for the past four years.

Headed by a former Provo bomb-maker, it has the capability to carry out a range of attacks.

Earlier this month, the terror leader gave the go-ahead for a crude explosive device to be sent in the post to SDLP politician Eamonn O'Neill.

However, the Real IRA operation that sparked the latest police searches is believed to have been on a substantially larger scale.

slnews@belfast telegraph.co.uk

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