Sunday Life

We'll hit back: INLA

Stephen Breen
12 September 2004

Renegade republicans last night vowed to step up attacks in loyalist interface areas of a notorious Ulster troublespot.

In an interview with Sunday Life, a senior INLA man, in north Belfast, warned the terror group's units in the area were "fully armed".

And the terror spokesman said its members would extend their campaign across Belfast, if the UDA continues to target nationalist communities.

The INLA made the claims after the Red Hand Defenders - a cover name for the UDA and LVF - rammed a north Belfast pub last week with a digger.

We revealed how UDA sources claimed the attack on the 32 Degrees North pub, in Ardoyne, was a warning to republicans.

But the senior renegade republican said the INLA would ignore mainstream republicans' pleas to remain calm, by launching fresh attacks in loyalist communities.

The terror spokesman also said the INLA had been boosted in recent weeks, by a recruitment drive in the Ardoyne area.

Said the spokesman: "We will not stand by, and allow loyalists to try and murder innocent nationalists without retaliation. If it happens again in Ardoyne, the INLA will hit back.

"This area is a powderkeg at the minute, and people are furious with the way they have been treated over the summer.

"The riot on the Twelfth was an example of the frustration in Ardoyne, and it could have been a lot worse if the Provos did not intervene.

"The Provos are still a very strong group in the area, but they also know that the INLA has members who are more than willing to ignore their pleas to remain calm.

"The IRA is trying to keep a lid on things because of the peace process, because they know just how volatile the situation in Ardoyne is. But if there is one more attack against nationalists, the INLA will have no other option but to attack loyalist communities."

But a senior security force told us the IRA was still the "dominant" force in the nationalist enclave.

Added the source: "The INLA has the capacity to attack loyalist communities, but it is the Provos who, in reality, control Ardoyne.

"The INLA may disobey Provo orders, but they wouldn't dare go against them. It was the INLA who orchestrated the riots on the Twelfth and we could have been dealing with a massacre.

"If the INLA has so much control in the area, why didn't the young guys who stole the Army's equipment go to them?"

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