DISSIDENTS COULD HAVE KILLED CIVILIANS WITH IRAQ-STYLE DEVICE

The armoured PSNI Land Rover discovery hit with a mortar bomb in Derry

The armoured PSNI Land Rover discovery hit with a mortar bomb in Derry

VIOLENT dissident republicans are copying bombs used by Islamic terrorists in Iraq and used one to try kill police in the city – and almost killed a civilian, police said today.

PSNI assistant chief constable Will Kerr said there is evidence that dissident republicans are attempting to develop armour-penetrating devices.

The devices are similar to those used to carry out attacks on military vehicles in Iraq and Afghanistan, he told RTE’s northern editor Tommy Gorman this morning.

ACC Kerr has overall responsibility for the PSNI’s crime operations, also said that intelligence-gathering and surveillance are being used to counteract the threat posed by dissidents on both sides of the border.

He said An Garda Síochána has been “immensely supportive” in tackling these gangs.

The Assistant Chief Constable said dissidents have been attempting to develop and use sophisticated Improvised Explosive Devices.

He cited the examples of explosively formed projectiles (EFP’s), used in attacks on PSNI vehicles in Belfast and Derry in recent months.

The internet carries many examples of such devices used to penetrate armoured military vehicles and kill the occupants in Afghanistan and Iraq, he said.

In the Derry and Belfast incidents, the devices did not work as intended but they were used in built-up areas.

“In the Derry and in the Belfast cases, motorists were driving close behind police vehicles and we were lucky not to be talking about civilian fatalities,” he said.

The Real IRA – which has changed its name – has hundreds of members and supporters, said Kerr.

However, police and gardai had developed intelligence gathering to counteract them where possible.

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