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Friday, February 23, 2024

Northern Ireland. Domestic terrorism threat level raised

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The British intelligence agency MI5 has raised the threat level of domestic terrorism in Northern Ireland to “serious”, Reuters reported. This means that an attack is highly likely. “The public should remain vigilant but not alarmed,” said British Minister for Northern Ireland, Chris Heaton-Harris.

“In recent months, we have seen an increase in terrorism-related activity in Ireland Northern Ireland, targeting police officers serving their communities, as well as endangering the lives of children and other members of the public,” said British Minister for Northern Ireland, Chris Heaton-Harris.

“The public should remain vigilant but not alarmed and continue to report any concerns to the police,” he added in a statement.

The intelligence agency MI5 has decided to raise the domestic terrorism threat level to “serious”. This means an attack is highly likely. This came about a year after British authorities decided to lower the alert for the province to a “significant” level for the first time in more than a decade.

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Northern Irish policeman in Belfast Min Jing / Shutterstock

The New IRA Threat

An off-duty Northern Ireland Police Officer (PSNI) was shot at a sports complex in Omagh in the west of Northern Ireland in late February. This is the first attack on a police officer in Northern Ireland with a firearm since January 2017.

– The investigation is at an early stage, we are open to different versions. There are many threads to this investigation. Our primary focus is on violent dissident republicans and, as part of that, the New IRA, said Mark McEwan, assistant commissioner of the PSNI, on BBC Ulster radio.

The New IRA, i.e. the New Irish Republican Army, is a small paramilitary group established in 2012 as a result of the merger of several other organizations opposing not only British sovereignty over Northern Ireland, but also the Good Friday Agreement, which is the basis of the peace process in this province. The new IRA is responsible for the high-profile fatal shooting of journalist Lyra McKee in April 2019 during the Londonderry riots, although she explained that she was an accidental victim.

Main photo source: Min Jing / Shutterstock

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