Attacks claimed by armed groups

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The New IRA has claimed responsibility for a mortar attack on a PSNI patrol in Strabane, County Tyrone on November 17.

In a statement using a recognised codeword, the organisation said it deployed an improvised explosive device (IED) which was triggered using a command wire.

The weapon used is similar to the horizontal mortar which was frequently used by the Provisional IRA during its campaign. The New IRA statement also revealed that members of the unit involved were armed with high velocity AK47 assault rifles.

In the statement, signed T O’Neill, the group said “an armed unit of the IRA moved into the area”.

“Two armed volunteers with AK 47s gave cover while the rest of the unit deployed the IED,” the statement said.

The group added that it believes the mortar struck the PSNI vehicle and that it suffered “significant damage”.

Meanwhile, in an unusual u-turn, the PSNI has said that a crude device brought to a barracks in the Waterside area of Derry three days later was not a hoax after all.

After initially declaring the alert an “elaborate hoax device, meant to look like a car bomb”, the PSNI have now said the object recovered was “a viable explosive device”.

Arm na Poblachta, a relatively new armed group, has claimed responsibility for the alert. It revealed the device had been on a timer and brought to the base by a food company which supplies the crown forces.

Arm na Poblachta has also claimed it carried out an attack on the PSNI in Strabane in October, and that an IED struck a PSNI vehicle in the Innisfree Gardens area.

It has also claimed responsibility for a similar device in the Ballyarnett Road area of Derry and one outside the town of Dungiven in County Derry.

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