I DISSIDENTI PIU’ TEMIBILI DEGLI ESTREMISTI ISLAMICI
Minaccia dissidente ai massimi livelli, equiparabili al periodo precedente alla firma dell’Accordo del Venerdì Santo
La MI5 ritiene il pericolo derivante dai gruppi dissindenti, superiore a quello ad oggi incarnato dati terroristi islamici. Fonti di intelligence hanno stabilito che il livello di ‘minaccia di morte’ è equiparabile al periodo risalente alla firma del Good Friday Agreement nel 1998. Esistono attualmente seri timori che gruppi paramilitari repubblicani stiano pianificando un attacco terroristico sul territorio inglese prima delle elezioni che avverrano nel corso dell’anno appena iniziato.
Nella classificazione Whitehall, la ‘minaccia di vita’ corrisponde ad un immediato ed indentificabile rischio di strage terroristica.
A differenze dell’attività dissidente, la MI5 sembra più preparata a controllare il terrorismo musulmano/islamico. Sostanzialmente infatti si tratterebbe di due minacce differenti. Nel primo caso ci si trova di fronte a gruppi di persone abili in tempi brevi ad assemblare dispositivi esplosivi o a pianificare un attacco a mano armata; nel secondo caso invece ci si trova di fronte ad un solo individuo disposto a sacrificare la propria vita magari per abbattere un aeroplano.
Gli attacchi dissidenti sono sensibilmente aumentati nell’arco del 2009 così come il loro numero (si ipotizzano almeno 200 unità), e secondo International Monitoring Commission, che monitora i tre principali gruppi paramilitari repubblicani, Continuity IRA, la Real IRA e Oghlaigh na hEireann, hanno iniziato ora a coordinare più strettamente le proprie attività.
MI5: More terrorist plots from Irish Republicans than Islamic extremists (Telegraph)
Police and the security services are tracking more “threat to life” terrorist plots from Republicans in Northern Ireland than from Islamic extremists in mainland Britain.
Security sources said there are now more life-threatening plots being prepared in Ulster than at any time since before the Good Friday Agreement in 1998.
There are also fears that Republicans want to launch a “spectacular” attack on the mainland in the run-up to the general election next year.
So far, the increase in violence from IRA splinter groups has been confined to Northern Ireland, but security sources say that intelligence reports suggest the some dissidents have ambitions to mount an attack on the mainland attack.
In Whitehall classification, “threat to life” indicates the most serious plots where there is active planning that presents an immediate and identifiable risk of a terrorist killing.
The Police Service of Northern Ireland say such plots – including carbombs prepared and ready to explode – or now a regular feature of their work.
The fact that the security services believe there are fewer plots of that nature on the mainland reflects MI5’s confidence that it is now able to monitor many would-be Muslim extremists and disrupt any plots at an earlier stage in their preparation.
Sources also said it is because of the differing types of terrorist threat.
One source said: “In Northern Ireland, there are people who can relatively quickly construct a device or plan a shooting, which would be a ‘threat to life’ plot. With the other situation, you may have only a single ‘threat to life’ plot, but that plot could be an attempt to bring down several airliners.”
Dissident Republican groups have been stepping up their attempted attacks this year.
Earlier in December, it emerged that a senior judge had been forced to leave his home in Belfast because of attempts on his life.
In November, 400lb bomb was planted outside the Policing Board’s headquarters in Belfast.
Security sources say that if the device had exploded, it would have caused deaths and injury on a scale greater than that seen in the 1998 Omagh bombing.
Republicans also staged an alleged plot to kill a Catholic police recruit in County Fermanagh in November. Gunmen opened fire on the home of the police officer which was under surveillance by members of the security forces. Three men were later arrested.
The resurgent threat from Republicans has forced MI5 to send more officers to the province and devote more of its surveillance and intelligence resources to Northern Irish operations. Several dozen MI5 officers are understood to have been deployed to Belfast from London in recent months.
The upsurge in violence has prompted new security warnings to the 5,000 British troops in Northern Ireland.
Earlier this year, two British soldiers were shot dead in an attack at the Masserene Barrack in Antrim.
British military personnel have been ordered not to travel to and from bases in uniform or to wear any clothing or garments which may identify them as members of the armed forces
Hundreds of pubs, night clubs and taxi firms have also been designated “out of bounds” to military personnel due to the potential threat from republican terrorists.
The Police Service of Northern Ireland has also urged shop owners to regularly check their businesses for firebombs over the Christmas period.
There have been at least a dozen attempts to kill PSNI members this year. One officer was shot dead in April.
According to the International Monitoring Commission, which monitors paramilitary groups, the three main dissident organisations — the Continuity IRA, the Real IRA and Oghlaigh na hEireann – have this year started to co-ordinate their activities more closely than before.