Real IRA to target military and police personnel

The Real IRA has threatened to expand its campaign in 2011 and is planning gun and bomb attacks on a wide range of British military, commercial, political and judicial targets.

In a new year statement released exclusively to the Sunday Tribune, the paramilitary organisation said the security forces were completely failing to deal with the threat it posed.

In the past 12 months, the Real IRA carried out several bombings, but it has not inflicted any fatalities on the security forces since it murdered two British soldiers at Massereene in March 2009, nor has it launched any attacks in Britain.

In its statement, the Real IRA Army Council said: "In the year to come, the leadership of Óglaigh na hÉireann will strive to expand the theatre of our operations in line with our strategy. We will continue to target institutions and personnel in the military, political, policing, justice and commercial and economic fields." The Real IRA said it had learned from "past mistakes" which it didn't detail.

It has previously taken ruthless action against those whom it claims "collaborate with British rule in Ireland". It deliberately shot and tried to kill two workers delivering pizzas to the soldiers at Massereene.

The paramilitary group repeated this threat. "Those who actively engaged in the occupation of Ireland and those who assist this occupation are the enemies of the Irish people," it said. In recent months, the Real IRA launched bomb attacks on Newry courthouse and the Ulster Bank in Derry. Catholic police officer Peadar Heffron lost a leg and narrowly escaped death when a bomb planted by another dissident group exploded under his car.

The Real IRA claimed that continuing dissident attacks showed that the two governments' policy of normalisation of life in the North had failed.

"In the past year, there has been no mistaking the fact that a conflict exists in occupied Ireland. The British, Free State, and colonial parliament in the six counties have collectively been unable to conceal or deal with this fact," it said.

It dismissed raids by the security forces and the arrest and conviction of republican dissidents. "None of the above measures have worked in the past, nor will they work now," it said. In a reference to the Provisional movement, which strongly opposes republican dissidents, it said the gulf between the two was now huge.