By TOM BRADY Security Editor THE attempted massacre of British soldiers in a bomb attack on barracks in Co Derry at the weekend is now...
THE attempted massacre of British soldiers in a bomb attack on barracks in Co Derry at the weekend is now believed to have been organised by the Real IRA.
Responsibility for the abortive attack, close to sleeping quarters at Shackleton barracks at Ballykelly, was initially claimed by the Continuity IRA in an anonymous telephone call.
But security sources now believe that the planned blast was the work of the main dissident republican group, the Real IRA, who declared a ceasefire after the Omagh bomb atrocity in August, 1998.
Senior police officers are satisfied that the leaders of the Real IRA are prepared to allow the CIRA take ``the credit'' for paramilitary acts as the latter organisation is not on ceasefire.
The Real IRA leadership is understood to be concerned about the fate of their members currently in jail and their prospects for an early release under the Good Friday agreement if the group accepts blame for criminal attacks.
The bombers were forced to flee when a loud explosion caused by a detonator and a small amount of explosive rocked the base. Soldiers later uncovered three gas cylinders packed with 15kgs of homemade explosive which, they said, would have caused mass murder if detonated.
The CIRA has become active again since the start of the year as a Garda seizure of explosives in Co Tipperary indicated, and also claimed responsibility for a bomb attack on Mahon's hotel in Irvinestown, Co Fermanagh, two weeks ago. But the real threat to the peace process from the dissident republican side is still believed to come from the Real IRA.
Recent suggestions that the CIRA has absorbed most of the Real IRA personnel have been dismissed by senior security sources on both sides of the Border.