Sunday Life

Real IRA to step up attacks

27 December 2004

THE Real IRA claims it is "braced as never before" to unleash a New Year campaign of terror.

The dissident republican group has attempted to justify its current firebombing campaign, with a warning that it is ready to step up the violence.

The group has been busily re-grouping and re-organising in south Down, Londonderry and Belfast - leading to firebomb attacks in the past week in Newry, Derry, Newtownabbey, Lisburn and Ballymena.

A spokesman for one of the most active Real IRA cells, based in south Down, said the attacks on shops are not intended to be attacks on the community "but on the North's false economy and normalisation process".

He said: "You can be sure of one thing - these attacks will continue.

"There appears to be a deliberate police policy of playing down our involvement in these attacks on the stores - despite the fact we have clearly claimed them using a codeword recognised by the media.

"Everyone should be aware that we are braced as never before to prevent the sell-out of our republican ideals of a united Ireland."

The terror group claims its ranks are being swollen by mainstream republicans, disaffected by the terms of the deal, which the British and Irish governments were brokering with the DUP and Sinn Fein.

The Real IRA has refused to confirm it actively targeted a police officer in the mid-Down area who, according to security sources, was forced to leave his home, when the plot to kill him was exposed.


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