15 May 2006

Spanish police arrest suspected Real IRA leader


15/05/2006 - 13:30:07

Spanish police have arrested a suspected leader of a Real IRA splinter group in the south-eastern city of Alicante, the Interior Ministry said today.

The man was part of a group that was broken up by police on May 7 in the southern city of Malaga for allegedly attempting to smuggle 500,000 packets of cigarettes to Britain.

Two other people were detained in that operation.

The man arrested today is described as the leader of the group part of the Real IRA. He is suspected of being involved in tobacco smuggling to finance activities for the armed group, the Interior Ministry said in a statement.

During the investigation, police determined that several citizens from the North had taken up residence on Spain’s south coast and were suspected of “collaborating directly” with armed groups linked to the Real IRA.

The Real IRA claimed responsibility for the August 15, 1998, car bomb attack on Omagh, where 29 people were killed and more than 300 wounded.

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