BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific
BBCi NEWS   SPORT   WEATHER   WORLD SERVICE   A-Z INDEX     

BBC News World Edition
 You are in: UK: N Ireland  
News Front Page
Africa
Americas
Asia-Pacific
Europe
Middle East
South Asia
UK
England
N Ireland
Scotland
Wales
Politics
Education
Business
Entertainment
Science/Nature
Technology
Health
-------------
Talking Point
-------------
Country Profiles
In Depth
-------------
Programmes
-------------
BBC Sport
BBC Weather
SERVICES
-------------
EDITIONS
Sunday, 20 October, 2002, 10:26 GMT 11:26 UK
Real IRA: Five years of terror
The Omagh bombing killed 29 people
Atrocity: The Omagh bombing killed 29 people
The Real IRA remains one of the most dangerous terror groups opposed to the 1998 political settlement, the Good Friday Agreement.

It was born out of a split in the mainstream Provisional IRA in October 1997, when the IRA's so-called quartermaster-general resigned over Sinn Fein's direction in the peace process.

Security forces estimate that the Real IRA's membership is between 100 and 200.

It is thought to have access to Provisional IRA explosives and detonators. Some of its members were leading IRA bomb-makers.

Worst single attack

The Real IRA quickly took over from the older Continuity IRA as the leading home for dissidents, and the security forces believe the two organisations have co-operated in a number of attacks.

Several arms finds have uncovered weapons from Eastern Europe which were believed to be heading to the Real IRA in Northern Ireland.

The group carried out the worst single atrocity of over 30 years of violence in Northern Ireland when it bombed the County Tyrone town of Omagh, killing 29 people, and two unborn children, in August 1998.

It declared a ceasefire after public condemnation over the bombing, but re-emerged in February of 2000.

Escalation

Since then there has been a steady escalation in attacks in Northern Ireland and Britain.

Attacks in London, linked to the group, have included a bomb attack on Hammersmith Bridge, explosions at BBC Television Centre and MI6 headquarters, a series of bomb attacks on a north London postal depot and an explosion in Ealing Broadway, in August 2001.

It has also carried out a campaign of so-called "barrack buster attacks" on military and police bases in Northern Ireland.

Large mortars - some of which are crude and inaccurate, but all potentially deadly - have been fired at several bases in Armagh, Tyrone and Londonderry.

Contractor murdered

The group has been particularly active recently in Belfast, Londonderry and the south Armagh and South Down areas.

The group was behind a booby-trap bomb attack at a Territorial Army camp in Derry which killed a civilian contractor in August this year.

It was blamed for a mortar attack on a police patrol car in Downpatrick.

And in September the police stopped a car carrying two Real IRA under-car booby trap bombs across the border from the Irish Republic into south Armagh.

Dissident republicans have also been blamed for booby-trap attacks on Catholic recruits to the Police Service of Northern Ireland - the new police force set up under the Agreement.


Puffbox
See also:

20 Oct 02 | N Ireland
02 Aug 02 | N Ireland
Links to more N Ireland stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more N Ireland stories

© BBC ^^ Back to top

News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East |
South Asia | UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature |
Technology | Health | Talking Point | Country Profiles | In Depth |
Programmes