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Police warn of terror attacks ahead of Biden visit – media


Northern Irish authorities reportedly warn ‘dissident groups’ could spark unrest

The Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) has warned of possible terror attacks and public disorder over the Easter weekend, according to reports released on Friday. The news comes days before US President Joe Biden is due to visit the region with British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak.

PSNI Chief Constable Simon Byrne reportedly told a meeting on Thursday that officers would be transferred to front-line duties for extended shifts to counter any potential threats. He noted that he was forced to employ policing strategies that had not been used in years, which reflected the “exceptional circumstances” before this weekend.

According to The Telegraph, Byrne said the attacks are “most likely throughout Northern Ireland” and could target police officers and their families, as well as prison officers and military personnel. The authorities believe that “dissident terrorists” could resort to gun and bomb attacks, he reportedly warned.

Deputy Chief Constable Bobby Singleton said the PSNI has “very strong community intelligence” that attacks are planned in Derry/Londonderry near the Anglo-Irish border on Easter Monday. This date will mark the 25th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement.

The treaty, signed on April 10, 1998, ended a nearly 30-year dispute between nationalists who want Northern Ireland to join the Republic of Ireland and unionists who want to stay in the UK. Since then, the country has seen only sporadic attacks on security forces, carried out by Irish Republican Army (IRA) splinter groups opposed to the deal.

Last month, Britain’s intelligence agency MI5 raised the terror threat level in Northern Ireland from “substantial” to “severe”, suggesting an attack is very likely. The move follows a February attack on Chief Detective Inspector John Caldwell, who was shot multiple times by two gunmen suspected of being part of the New Irish Republican Army (New IRA) – a Republican dissident group dissident.

The unionist DUP and nationalist Sinn Fein parties both condemned the shooting.

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