‘Arm na Poblachta’ claims rocket attack


A newly announced IRA group has claimed responsibility for a rocket reportedly discovered in the Poleglass area of Belfast following a telephone warning.

The PSNI police said they found a form of ‘explosively formed projectile’ (EFP), which was designed to penetrate armoured vehicles used by British state forces.

An organisation which used the name ‘Arm na Poblachta’ [Irish for ‘Republican Army’] claimed responsibility for the device in a telephoned warning to news organisations on Monday. There were reports a PSNI helicopter had been in the area since last Saturday.

Rumours of the existence of ‘Arm na Poblachta’ have circulated since at least August, but this is the first time a claim of responsibility has been issued in its name.

A high-profile police operation continued in the Poleglass area until Thursday as roads were closed and some residents were evacuated from their homes.

The device was eventually recovered by the British Army.

Last month, the PSNI said they also found a rocket launcher in the village of Dundrod in County Antrim, which they described as viable, and was later presented to the media [pictured].

They said that the launcher and a replica gun subsequently found nearby “bear the hallmarks of dissident republicans”, but did not link the find to any single organisation. It is not clear if the incidents are linked.

Sinn Fein’s Orlaithi Flynn said there was no local support for a new armed group. “The people are sick, sore and tired of being placed in danger by groups at war with the local community,” she said.

Separately, a County Louth man is to be sent to prison in the 26 Counties for “directing terrorism”, only the third to have been convicted of the charge.

Seamus McGrane, who was also convicted of IRA membership, was described as a leader of the Real IRA (RIRA), who went on to lead the organisation known as Oglaigh na hEireann (ONH).

He was accused of discussing a “symbolic” attack at the time of the British royal visit to Ireland in 2015 for a location “around 400 metres from the target”. He was convicted in the absence of a jury at the Special Criminal Court. Judge Isobel Kennedy agreed Mr McGrane had been recorded discussing a “military operation”. Mr McGrane is to be sentenced on November 14th.

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