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UK security services signal 'strong possibility' of dissident Republican attack in Britain

MI5 has raised the threat level from Northern Ireland-related attacks to “substantial”, for the first time in five years.

Britain Belgium Attacks Source: Associated Press

Updated: 4.50pm

UK SECURITY SERVICES have raised the threat level for an attack from Northern Ireland based Republican dissidents to “substantial”, for the first time in five years.

In a statement this afternoon, the British Home Office announced:

The Security Service, MI5, has increased the threat level to Great Britain from Northern Ireland-related terrorism from moderate to substantial.
This means that a terrorist attack is a strong possibility and reflects the continuing threat from dissident republican activity.

The threat level from Northern Ireland-related violence remains at “severe” in Northern Ireland itself, and the threat level from international terrorism on the British mainland also remains “severe”, meaning an attack is “highly likely.”

UK Home Secretary Theresa May added:

The main focus of violent dissident republican activity continues to be in Northern Ireland where they have targeted the brave police and prison officers who serve their communities day in and day out.
The reality is that they command little support. They do not represent the views or wishes of the vast majority of people, both in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, who decisively expressed their desire for peace in the 1998 Belfast Agreement and have been transforming Northern Ireland ever since.
However it is sensible, given their stated aims, that the public in Great Britain should also remain vigilant and report any suspicious activity to the police. But we should not be alarmed, and this should not affect how we go about our daily lives.

In July 2011, the threat level from Northern Ireland was downgraded from “substantial”, meaning an attack is a strong possibility, to “moderate”, meaning an attack is possibly but not likely, the Guardian reports.

It had stayed at that level for almost five years, until today.

In response to a query by TheJournal.ie, the Department of Justice this evening said in a statement that “the threat of terrorist attacks by these groups in this jurisdiction is low and there has not been any change to that.”

However, the reality of these organisations is that their threat of attacks relates primarily to other jurisdictions, particularly Northern Ireland, and that is what An Garda Síochána have full regard to in counteracting these threats.

The statement added:

Cooperation between An Garda Síochána and their counterparts is at an excellent level.

Originally published: 2.45 pm

Read: Terrorist bomb parts found buried in the woods in Co Antrim park>

Read: Belfast on high alert after at least one explosive found in the city>

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Dan MacGuill

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