UK: Self-declared ‘IRA’ claims final week’s parcel bombs

LONDON 

A group claiming to be the Irish Republican Army (IRA) has claimed responsibility for sending improvised explosive devices in five packages to various addresses in London and Glasgow last week.

The claim by the group was received on Monday, March 11 by a media outlet in Northern Ireland, according to local media reports.

Four of the five parcel bombs claimed to have been sent by the group were intercepted by Scottish and British police, but it is believed that one has not yet been detected.

The group claimed that three of the devices were sent to “commercial targets” while the remaining two were posted to British army recruitment officers.

The group said a device discovered at Glasgow University was intended for a British army recruitment officer who works there.

It claimed the remaining undiscovered device was also sent to a recruitment officer and that all of the devices contained explosives.

British police on Tuesday said in a statement that they were aware of the claim.

“The Metropolitan Police and Police Scotland are aware of the claim of responsibility for the devices that were received at three buildings in London and at the University of Glasgow on 5 and 6 March,” a statement said Tuesday morning.

“The claim was allegedly made on behalf of the ‘IRA’,” it said.

It said: “The investigations into these devices continue and relevant enquiries are being made in relation to the claim that has been made.

“Given the packages received last week bore similarities to devices sent in the past which were linked to dissident groups associated with Northern Ireland-related terrorism, officers were already looking at this as a line of enquiry.

“However, we continue to keep an open mind and enquiries continue.”

Vigilance

British counter-terrorism investigators said they linked three small improvised explosive devices (IEDs) received at addresses in London on Tuesday, March 5 with a similar device found the next day at the University of Glasgow.

The police said A4-sized packages found at Waterloo Station and the Heathrow and City airports did not injure anyone but had the potential to start fires.

The Met Police issued extensive advice to transport hubs and mail-sorting companies to be vigilant about and report suspicious packages.

Some of the envelopes carried Republic of Ireland postal stamps, and the investigation was extended to Ireland in cooperation with the local forces, police said after the discoveries last week.

A car bomb explosion outside a courthouse in Londonderry, Northern Ireland in January was claimed by a group calling themselves the “New IRA.”

The Irish Republican Army (IRA) and the Ulster Defence Association (UDA) were two armed groups which terrorized Northern Ireland during The Troubles — a period of conflict between the British government and pro-British paramilitaries on one side and Irish republicans and nationalists on the other.

The 1998 Belfast Agreement – a peace deal dubbed the Good Friday agreement — largely saw the end of Troubles-era violence, in which more than 3,500 people lost their lives.

IRA splinter groups remain active in the city.

The terror threat in the UK is now characterized as “severe,” meaning an attack is “highly likely,” according to security officials.

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