A group calling itself the IRA has claimed responsibility for several parcel bombs sent to locations in London and Glasgow last week, police have confirmed.
In a joint statement, the Metropolitan Police and Police Scotland said the claim was received on Monday by the Belfast-based Irish News using a recognised codeword.
“Given the packages received last week bore similarities to devices sent in the past which were linked to dissident groups associated with Northern Ireland-related terrorism, officers were already looking at this as a line of enquiry,” police said.
Subscribe to The Week
Escape your echo chamber. Get the facts behind the news, plus analysis from multiple perspectives.
They also revealed that one explosive device might still be unaccounted for.
“We are also aware that those claiming responsibility have indicated five devices were sent,” the statement read. “At this time, only four devices have been recovered.”
The improvised explosives were delivered to Waterloo rail station and administration buildings at Heathrow and London City airports, as well as the University of Glasgow on 5 and 6 March.
One of the bombs caught fire when opened by staff at Heathrow. No-one was injured in any of the incidents and no arrests have yet been made.
Posted in yellow jiffy bags, the crude incendiary devices all bore Irish postmarks and appeared to have been sent from Dublin.
What is the IRA?
Often referred to as “the new IRA” to distinguish it from the group which was active in Northern Ireland's troubles, the IRA is comprised of dissidents who never accepted its namesake’s ceasefire more than 20 years ago, says BBC Northern Ireland Home Affairs Correspondent Julian O’Neill.
Although it claimed responsibility for a car bomb which detonated in Londonderry in January, police on both sides of the Irish Sea have mostly been able to contain its threat, he adds.
Ireland’s Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan said he was “deeply concerned” that Irish paramilitaries claimed they were behind the attacks.
“We must work together to reject those isolated groups who would discard the accomplishments of the peace process for all communities on these islands for their own narrow objectives,” he added. “Their futile agenda will not succeed.”
Continue reading for free
We hope you're enjoying The Week's refreshingly open-minded journalism.
Subscribed to The Week? Register your account with the same email as your subscription.