New IRA sent bombs to army recruitment centres, Met confirms

Scotland Yard says terror group used recognised codeword to claim responsibility for sending packages to offices in Britain

The republican terror alliance known as the new IRA was behind a series of parcel bombs sent to army recruitment offices in Britain.

Scotland Yard has confirmed that the new IRA used a recognised codeword in claiming responsibility for sending the packages to military career offices in Oxford, Brighton, Canterbury and the Queensmere shopping centre in Slough last week.

Earlier the terror group had sent similar packets to Aldershort, Reading and the RAF careers office in Chatham, Kent.

It marks a new phase in the new IRA’s armed campaign in terms of targeting Britain. Dissident republican organisations have not struck in England for almost a decade.

All three anti-process republican groups – the new IRA, the Continuity IRA and Óglaigh na hÉireann – have been hit with a series of arrests over the last 12 months. The security forces on both sides of the Irish border have thwarted at least half a dozen attempts to transport bombs and mortar devices into Belfast and Derry over the last year.

A spokesperson for Scotland Yard said: “We are aware of the claim of responsibility for the devices that were sent to army recruitment centres in England last week.

“The claim was received on Saturday 15 February by a Northern Irish media outlet using a recognised codeword. The claim was allegedly made on behalf of the ‘IRA’.

“The public is urged to remain vigilant and report anything suspicious to the Anti-Terrorist Hotline, 0800 789 321.”

The new IRA was formed in the summer of 2012 with the merger of the Real IRA, an armed vigilante group known as Republican Action Against Drugs and independent armed republican units in County Tyrone.

They released a statement to the Guardian confirming that they were now to be known as the IRA and vowed to continue “armed struggle” against the Northern Ireland state and the British government, and its armed forces.

Their last victim was David Black, a Northern Ireland prison officer who was ambushed and shot on Northern Ireland’s M1 motorway in November 2012.

Critics of Sinn Féin’s political strategy who are deemed “political dissidents” have been trying recently to persuade the armed groups to give up their campaigns. In January ex IRA hunger striker Gerard Hodgins warned the dissidents that Britain had its “eyes and ears” on their organisations through technical surveillance and through informants on a 24/7 basis.

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