PSNI braced for dissident Republican attacks in Derry on Easter Monday
It is thought that the New IRA aim to grab global attention ahead of the visits of Joe Biden and Rishi Sunak.
Police in Northern Ireland say they believe dissident Republican groups could attempt to mount gun and bomb attacks on the PSNI in Derry on Easter Monday.
In response to these concerns, additional officers have been drafted in for front-line duties. Shift patterns have also been extended to maximise the number of officers available.
According to the Chief Constable of the PSNI, Simon Byrne, this is a "policing strategy that has not been used in years".
The news of imminent attacks on the PSNI comes fresh off the back of the attempted murder of Detective Chief Inspector John Caldwell in Omagh during February.
In the aftermath of that attack believed to have been committed by dissident Republicans, the Chief Constable stated "We are now dealing with a severe terrorist threat which means that an attack is highly likely right across Northern Ireland".
This week also saw Tánaiste and Fianna Fáil party leader Micheál Martin make an appearance in Derry to show support to the Northern Irish police forces following February's attempted murder.
Speaking to the pronounced possibility of attacks on police forces this Easter Monday, the former Taoiseach said "I think that news is shocking and I think very worrying. I would condemn any attempts by anybody to injure or attack the PSNI. An attack on the PSNI is an attack on all of us on this island".
Chief Constable Byrne added additional information regarding the intelligence received by the PSNI, stating "Police believe the New IRA are planning to create street disorder to lure officers into a trap to launch gun or bomb attacks following Easter commemoration parades in Derry".
In April of 2019, similar tactics were deployed by dissident Republicans who used the cover of riots to open fire on the PSNI, events which led to the killing of journalist Lyra McKee.
It is highly unusual for police to release intelligence details such as this publicly, however, it is hoped that in doing so and highlighting their preparedness, that the New IRA may be deterred from mounting any violent attacks on officers.
The PSNI also stated how over the past 8 or 9 months, the New IRA has undergone a period of regrouping and reorganising, which has seen it improve both its capacities and capabilities, with increased access to assault rifles and hand guns.
Reports surrounding these potential attacks coincide with the visits of US President Joe Biden and British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak to Northern Ireland week, as part of the commemorations around the 25th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement.
Police believe that the New IRA is planning attacks on its forces with the aim of gaining global attention as some of the world's most prominent political figures descend upon the North.
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