14 May 2006

Fears Holy Week bomber may lend skills to dissident terror campaign

Sunday Life

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Exclusive by Sunday Life Reporter
14 May 2006

THE security forces fear a notorious IRA bomb-maker may lend his expertise to a new alliance of dissident republicans.

MI5 has been monitoring the activities of the former leading Provo from south Down amid concerns that he could be about to throw his weight behind a renewed terror campaign, orchestrated by a new hardline leader of the Continuity IRA.

He was the mastermind behind the Holy Week bombing which killed four UDR soldiers in a 1,000lb landmine explosion outside Downpatrick in April 1990.

And security sources believe he has the expertise to help a renewed and sustained car-bombing campaign by dissidents.

The bomb-maker has been wooed by the CIRA zealot, who has been actively recruiting in the south Down areas, bringing cells under one command.

The Holy Week bomber opposed Sinn Fein's peace strategy and gave his allegiance to the Real IRA, leading what was, at one stage, the most active terror cell anywhere in Ulster.

He called a halt to bomb and gun attacks after a series of security force arrests when, he believed, his terror cell had been penetrated by the intelligence agencies.

He ordered a hunt for the spy within the ranks, who he believed had helped police arrest a number of leading associates.

It is claimed the re-invigorated CIRA grouping already has the expertise of an experienced bomb-maker who was linked to the 1985 mortar bomb attack on Newry RUC station which killed nine officers.

One security source told Sunday Life: "He has been off the scene for a while, which always concerns us.

"If he and his second-in-command join forces with the CIRA, they will bring to it a new level of bomb-making expertise."

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