Sunday Life

Police warn Shoukri that republicans targeting him

27 February 2005

UDA boss Andre Shoukri has been warned he's being targeted by republicans.

The top terror chief was visited by cops last Tuesday and warned to vary his routine because of "republican interest" in his movements.

Shoukri refused to comment on the warning to Sunday Life.

But we have learned that police are taking republican threats more seriously, since the issuing of an IRA statement earlier this month.

In Britain, the threat of an IRA attack has been raised from 'Level 4' to the higher 'Level 3'.

Senior police and military figures, and some politicians, have been advised to be more security-conscious.

The warning to the UDA's north Belfast 'brigadier' didn't specify whether the threat relates to mainstream or dissident IRA. It's understood other loyalists have received similar warnings in recent days.

Although police aren't anticipating a return to widespread terror attacks by the IRA, there is concern about isolated terrorist incidents designed to destabalise the situation.

Said one senior security source: "A one-off hit with a clean gun could be blamed on another republican group, or even on the IRA, and it would make little difference politically, because there is a political vacuum.

"Warnings are relayed to individuals when threats become known about, and there were several issued before the IRA statement. But there's a feeling now that the risk is higher, and people should take the advice given much more seriously."

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