Dissidents carry out London scouting mission
Published 21/04/2011 | 05:00
DISSIDENT IRA terrorists have scouted targets in London including the Olympics but have been under surveillance by British agents.
The suspected cell from the Oglaigh na hEireann (ONH), regarded as the most dangerous of the three dissident IRA groupings, was followed around the British capital as they visited and photographed the Olympic venues and other key sites.
Undercover British soldiers from the Special Reconnaissance Regiment followed the members of the cell around for three weeks.
Two ONH members travelled from the border area around south Armagh and Monaghan to London in February.
In the capital they met two associates who live permanently in the city. Soldiers working for Scotland Yard's counter-terrorism unit watched the men as they photographed key roads and buildings including the Olympic stadium.
It is not thought that the group and other dissident Republicans are aiming to launch mass-casualty attacks but continue to target police and military sites. With only around 50 core members, the ONH do not have the capability of launching a terrorist attack in Britain.
However, the risk of an attack by dissidents on Britain was increased last September from 'moderate' -- meaning an attack was possible, but not likely -- to 'substantial', meaning there was a strong possibility of an attack.
In Northern Ireland the threat of attack is 'severe', meaning an attack is highly likely.
The ONH is a faction of the Real IRA and remains loyal to Michael McKevitt, who founded the breakaway gang after a rift in the leadership of the Provisional IRA over the peace process in 1997.