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Sunday, August 8, 1999 Published at 06:42 GMT 07:42 UK


INLA 'declares war is over'

The INLA says it sees no "moral argument" to continue its campaign

There has been a cautious response in Northern Ireland to a newspaper report claiming the republican terror group, the INLA, has announced its war is over.

The hardline republican paramilitary group has told its political wing, the Irish Republican Socialist Party, that it has no reason to continue its campaign of violence, according to the Sunday Times newspaper.

The paper quoted a senior party member as saying: "The INLA have assured us that as far as they are concerned the war is over and they see no further basis for armed struggle.

Bombing move rejected

"There is no political or moral argument to justify a resumption of the campaign."

The group is also reported to have rejected attempts by republican groups the Continuity IRA and the Real IRA - which have not agreed to the ceasefire currently being observed by the main paramilitary groups - to join them in a bombing campaign in mainland Britain.

The INLA came to prominence in 1979 when it murdered Conservative MP Airey Neave in a car bomb attack in the House of Commons car park.

It declared a ceasefire on August 22 last year.

Before the ceasefire was called, its members shot dead loyalist paramilitary leader Billy Wright in the Maze prison.

Cautious response

There has been a cautious response to the report from unionist politicians.

Ulster Unionist MP Jeffrey Donaldson said: "This is obvious speculation at this stage, and while there may be substance to this story, at the end of the day the INLA will have to prove that they have declared a complete end to their campaign of violence.

"Then it follows, like day follows night, that they will have to decomission."

Democratic Unionist Party spokesman Ian Paisley junior described the declaration as a "meaningless charade".

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