British security experts warn that Irish Republican terrorist groups may engineer attacks on the day of the Royal Wedding this Friday.
While the strictest security measures have been imposed in and around Central London to protect the royal family (including Prince William and his bride-to-be Kate Middleton) and thousands of guests and well-wishers, the British government remains wary of potential disruptions if not in London, then in other parts of the United Kingdom, particularly in Northern Ireland.
The Daily Mirror newspaper quoted a security official who said “recent intelligence points to a terror attack in Northern Ireland on the day of the wedding. This is a very real threat and described as being highly likely.”
Reportedly, British intelligence officials at MI5 have cautioned the Home Office that such groups as the Real IRA, the Oglaigh na hEireann, among others, may seek to disrupt and overshadow the Royal Wedding.
However, the Daily Mirror’s source added: ”It is not believed the groups yet have the capability to launch an attack on London, which on Friday would cause chaos. However, an attack would send out a clear message that there is a gathering and substantial threat from dissident republican groups in Northern Ireland and Ireland.”
As if to underscore the threat posed by Irish dissidents, a police officer named Ronan Kerr was killed earlier this month in Omagh, Ulster, by a group calling itself “The IRA.”
Officials in Northern Ireland fear that the murder might trigger another wave of killings in the County.
“The IRA”, which is believed to be comprised of remnants from the former Provisional IRA, has vowed to commence a bombing campaign against Britain and British interests.
Sinn Fein chief Martin McGuinness, along with a host of other politicians (both Catholic and Protestant) have denounced the assassination of PC Kerr.
On ABC TV network in the U.S. recently, Martyn Frampton, professor and author of Legion of the Rearguard: Dissident Irish Republicanism, said: attacks on the mainland, particularly here in London, I think remain the holy grail for these organizations.
An attack on London is worth ten, twenty times more to them in terms of bringing attention to their cause and to the fact, as they see it that the conflict is not over.
Other hard-line Irish Republican dissidents have even threatened Queen Elizabeth, who is set to visit Ireland next month.
The general secretary of the Republican Sinn Fein party, Josephine Hayden, said of the Queen: You might say that she is just a little old grandmother, but it is what she represents, what she symbolizes that counts. She is a legitimate target.
Hayden also said PC Kerr was a legitimate target.
There has not been an Irish republican assault on English soil since 2001 when car bombs were detonated in West London near a BBC TV station.
Meanwhile, London’s Metropolitan police are expected to employ an array of draconian measures to ensure security at the wedding, especially around Westminster Abbey and Buckingham Palace.