FOUR mail bombs found across London and Scotland last week were allegedly sent by the “IRA” with a fifth device yet to discovered, police said.
Police dealt with reports of suspicious devices found at Heathrow airport, London City airport, Waterloo station and the University of Glasgow on Wednesday and Tuesday last week.
Scotland Yard today said a claim of responsibility has allegedly been made by the IRA, the Irish republican group that wants to end British rule in Northern Ireland.
“The claim was received on Monday 11 March by a media outlet in Northern Ireland outlet using a recognised codeword,” the force said in a statement.
“The claim was allegedly made on behalf of the ‘IRA’.”
Detectives are making further enquiries into the claim by the dissident paramilitary organisation.
Although four devices were discovered last week, the IRA has claims a fifth device sent to a British army recruitment officer is yet to be found, the Irish News reports.
An counter-terror investigation was launched on March 5 after police were scrambled to reports of suspicious packages at Heathrow, London City Airport and Waterloo station.
The University of Glasgow was evacuated 24 hours later after a similar device linked to the other three was discovered, prompting a joint probe by Scottish police and Scotland Yard.
Each bomb was sealed inside an A4-sized package containing a yellow jiffy bag filled with explosives.
The packages were stamped with the message “love from Ireland”, suggesting IRA involvement.
“The claim was allegedly made on behalf of the ‘IRA’”
In the statement, the Met Police said its counter-terror team were already exploring the possibility of IRA involvement as “the packages received last week bore similarities to devices sent in the past”.
Improvised explosive devices (IEDs) such as mail bombs became a signature weapon for the group during its bombing campaigns of the Troubles from the 1960s.
The IRA said the device found at Glasgow University was intended for a British army recruitment officer who works there, according to the paper.
Armed forces have been told to “be vigilant” until the fifth device is recovered.
The Met Police said: “We are also aware that those claiming responsibility have indicated five devices were sent.
“At this time, only four devices have been recovered.
“Extensive advice has already been issued to relevant businesses and sectors to be vigilant for and report suspicious packages to police. This advice was previously sent to armed forces personnel and is being reiterated again in light of this claim.
“We continue to urge the public to remain vigilant and report anything suspicious to police.”
The bombs are believed to be linked to the uncertainty over Brexit and the possibility of a hard border between Northern Ireland and Ireland in the event of no-deal.
Northern Ireland-related terrorism continues to pose a serious threat to British interests, according to UK security service MI5.
A return to a hard border in Ireland could create tensions that reignite grevieves felt by Irish republicans.
The group, which calls itself the IRA, is made up of militants opposed to Northern Ireland’s 1998 peace deal.
It is separate and far smaller than the Provisional IRA, which was responsible for almost half of the 3,600 deaths during 30 years of violence and which disbanded after the peace deal.
Dissident groups are smaller in number and capability though they have claimed lives in recent years including of two prison officers.