Hardliners ‘becoming more sophisticated’

A primed mortar rocket was defused in County Armagh and two other bombs were made safe in County Tyrone amid signs of increasing activity by republican militarists.

The PSNI police said the mortar and launching tube had been found at Cornakinnegar Road near the railway line in Lurgan on Thursday as part on a continuing operation.

The last mortar attack took place in December, when a rocket missile missed Craigavon PSNI police station.

Elsewhere, the seond of two bombs were discovered last night in the garden of a house in Sion Mills, County Tyrone.

Asimilar bomb was uncovered in the area at the weekend. Both devices, described as “viable” by the PSNI, were defused by a British Army bomb disposal team.

SDLP assembly member Dolores Kelly said the PSNI had told her the latest mortar device was “much more technically sophisticated”.

“I think they are concerned that the dissidents have improved their bomb-making abilities,” she said.

Sinn Féin assembly member John O’Dowd also condemned those responsible.

“If it was one of the republican micro-groups then I call on them to reflect upon exactly they are trying to achieve,” he said.

“This sort of pointless activity will not result in Irish unity.”


Meanwhile, a number of traditionalist republican prisoners on the separated wing in Maghaberry jail have been “punished” by warders for refusing to remove the Easter lilies they were wearing on Sunday.

Nineteen prisoners are understood to have been removed from Roe House in the County Antrim jail and placed in a special supervision unit where they will lose certain rights and freedoms.

British policy permits prisoners to wear an Easter lily in their cells but does not allow it to be worn on visits or in the main prison complex.

‘Real IRA’ Volunteer Terry McCafferty last year launched a judicial challenge after being confined to solitary confinement for three days for refusing to remove an Easter lily.

The north Belfast man is currently serving 12 years for attempting to bomb the tax office in Upper Queen Street in Belfast in 2002.

A prisoners’ representatitve said yesterday: “How can it be acceptable for the poppy to be worn by prison staff working on the separated wing and yet republican prisoners denied the right to wear an Easter lily for two days?

“The decision to place the men on the boards amounts to nothing more than blatant harassment.”

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© 2007 Irish Republican News