THE Real IRA says it is preparing to launch a new offensive after a major three-year internal reorganisation.
The paramilitary organisation said police officers in the north would be primary targets in its campaign.
"With more attacks on the RUC/PSNI we believe we can reach the stage where British soldiers are brought back onto the streets to bolster the cops.
"This will shatter the facade that the British presence has gone and normality reigns.
People will once again be made visibly aware that we remain occupied, " the dissidents said.
In its first interview in five years, two members of the Real IRA army council met the Sunday Tribune at a location near the border. The newspaper was also given photographs and a DVD of six heavily-armed Real IRA members on a training exercise near a British security watchtower along the border.
The Real IRA said that, after substantial restructuring, which saw some members in Belfast and elsewhere dismissed and units that "weren't up to scratch" disbanded, it now had "a new confidence".
The attempted murder of two police officers in Derry and Dungannon in November showed "the IRA believed it could kill a cop and take whatever the state threw at it". The Real IRA hasn't bombed Britain in six years. When asked if this was to change, the army council representative said: "We will attack Britain where and when we see fit. The law of averages suggests the longer a target hasn't been hit, then the more likely it is to be attacked."
The paramilitary group warned of firebomb attacks on shops and businesses in the north. Although it views members of the Stormont executive, including Martin McGuinness, as "British ministers" and hence "legitimate targets", it is unlikely to attack them.
"Targets aren't always chosen on legitimacy but on whether hitting them would be politically expedient or counter-productive and on the likely effect on public support, " the Real IRA leader said. But this decision would be "kept under review".
In a controversial claim, the Real IRA alleged it had "minimal involvement" in the Omagh bomb: "Our codeword was used . . . nothing more. To have stated this at the time would have been lost in an understandable wave of emotion. That is the only detail on Omagh we're prepared to give at the moment."
Previously, it had been claimed in some quarters that while the Real IRA made the bomb, Continuity IRA members planted it. However, the Real IRA is now alleging it didn't even make the bomb. Coming 10 years after the atrocity in which 29 people were killed, and without any detailed information to support its claim, the Real IRA's statement will be treated with scepticism.
The Real IRA denied reports it wanted to unite with Continuity IRA or INLA. It would work with both "on issues where there is common ground", but there would be no joint operations. "We are not seeking to amalgamate three armies into a 'super republican group', " the army council member said. He denounced Sinn Fein and Provisional IRA leaders for urging people to pass information about Real IRA attacks to the PSNI. The Real IRA said it wasn't engaged in any direct or indirect talks with the British or Irish governments.