Bomb claim confusion

Doubts have been cast on the ‘Real IRA’ claim of responsibility to the BBC for the bomb attack at the heavily-fortified Palace Barracks in County Down on Monday morning.

An individual claiming to represented the organisation has called Belfast newsrooms to “categorically deny any involvement in the planning or planting of the bomb at MI5 headquarters.”

Meanwhile, a third individual purporting to represent the organisation known as Oglaigh na hEireann contacted another journalist and claimed the attack. He said the group’s Belfast brigade carried out the attack,

None of the claims or counter-claims have emerged through republican channels.

“A previous claim by the Real IRA has proved to be unfounded,” the latest caller told the traditionally pro-union Belfast Telegraph.

“After consultation with this group, we believe the claim, to have allegedly been made by the Real IRA, was a deliberate attempt by British intelligence services to cause confusion and tension within the republican movement.”

There was also confusion over the size of the bomb, with “security sources” variously claiming the device contained less than a hundred pounds of explosive or over 150 pounds.

Doubts have also been placed over claims by the PSNI that a man received light injuries in the attack. Local residents, who were evacuated from the area around the bomb, dismissed a PSNI claim that “an elderly passer-by” was struck by shrapnel.

Meanwhile, the third and oldest breakaway IRA group, the Continuity IRA, said it was responsible for a “viable device” left close to a PSNI base in south Armagh.

The device, which involved several containers filled with flammable liquid, was planted in a car at the gates to Newtownhamilton police station at around 2am on Tuesday.

Using a recognised codeword, the Continuity IRA said it was responsible for the bomb alert.

Sinn Fein’s assembly member for the area Conor Murphy called on the various groups’ spokesmen to publicly explain their actions.

“I would call on those who support these groups to come forward and explain to us how this act will in any way advance republican objectives,” he said.

“The reality is that there now exists a peaceful way to achieve Irishm unity. Republicans, along with the vast majority of the people of Ireland, are committed to pursuing that objective peacefully.

“This latest alert has done no thing to further republicanism. It has simply disrupted the community in Newtownhamilton. ~

Ulster Unionist Assembly member for Newry and Armagh Danny Kennedy said more resources were needed to bring the dissidents “to heel”.

There were also a bomb alert in Derry on Wednesday morning, while a Catholic member of the PSNI in Enniskillen, County Fermanagh had his car destroyed after it was set alight.

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