Dissident IRA gangs have warned British authorities that they have sent sleeper cells, groups of secret agents who assimilate to British culture before assisting or committing acts of terrorism, to Britain. The Real IRA also warned that they are preparing to attack cities there.
UK security analysts have warned that the Real IRA and other terrorist groups are shifting their focus from Northern Ireland to Britain. Terry Spence, chairman of the Police Federation for Northern Ireland, which represents rank-and-file officers, warned colleagues in England and Wales about the threat.
The Irish Daily Star reported he said, “It is certainly highly likely there are currently cells operating on the mainland UK.”
Terry said that dissident activists are called ‘clean-hands’ because they have not received police attention before. As such, ‘clean-hands’ are almost impossible for security services to infiltrate.
Leading British terror expert Andy Oppenheimer said, “Attacking the [British] mainland now would be difficult, but not impossible.”
The Real IRA was formed in 1997 after it split from the Provisional Irish Republican Army (PIRA) following the IRA’s ceasefire. The Real IRA rejects the Good Friday Agreement of 1998. The Real IRA has operated against the British Army and the Police Service of Northern Ireland and it aims to end British sovereignty on the Irish island and to create a united Ireland. It has claimed responsibility for bombings in Northern Ireland and Britain.