**Hello! The PISSNI ALWAYS have a list of republican suspects even BEFORE a crime takes place...

Raid police 'have suspects list'

Northern Ireland police chief Hugh Orde has been updating the Policing Board on the £26.5m Northern Bank raid.

The IRA has twice denied it was behind last month's robbery in Belfast but Mr Orde's assessment has not changed.

The BBC understands that the police believe the robbery was planned and carried out by the IRA in Belfast.

Police have a list of suspected IRA figures they believe were involved, names which have been included in security briefings given to government.

'Intelligence information'

The chief constable's meeting with the policing board, which monitors the activities of the police service, took place behind closed doors on Thursday.

BBC Northern Ireland security editor Brian Rowan has learned that the police assessment is based both on intelligence information and on evidence that has emerged since the robbery.

He said that the police believe that the raid on the bank's head office in Belfast on 20 December was carried out under the direction of one of the IRA's most senior leaders in the city.

It is also suggested that they had help from elsewhere in the IRA organisation.

This week, the IMC (Independent Monitoring Commission), which reports on paramilitary activity, has been meeting in Belfast to consider what it should do.

Its next report is not due until April but an earlier assesment is expected.

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