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Last Updated: Wednesday, 4 October 2006, 11:02 GMT 12:02 UK
Real IRA remains a 'real threat'
Fire attacks
The Real IRA was behind arson attacks in Newry
The republican paramilitary group behind the 1998 Omagh bomb remains a real threat, the body monitoring paramilitary activity has said.

The Independent Monitoring Commission's report accused the Real IRA of being behind firebomb attacks in Newry.

It said Real IRA members tried to attack a police vehicle in Ballymena.

The IMC said the group was gathering intelligence on current and former members of the security forces and also loyalist paramilitaries for targeting.

The commissioners said it was also trying to recruit members; procure and develop weapons and collecting protection money from drug dealers.

It also said the Real IRA robbed a public house in Ballymena and had been intimidating Protestant families and foreign workers in the town.

"In August we think it likely that RIRA was the dissident group responsible for incendiary devices which caused extensive damage to commercial premises in Newry," the report said.

"On the following day there were several hoax alerts and viable devices were found which failed to explode.

Active and dangerous

"These incidents represent an escalation in RIRA terrorism, which had been at a relatively low level since the end of its campaign of incendiaries in early 2005."

The IMC said the Continuity IRA remained an active and dangerous dissident republican group, attacking loyalist bonfires in June, exiling one individual and carrying out a burglary to acquire new weapons.

The commission said: "We have no doubt that CIRA remains committed to terrorism, although it continues to be the case that its capabilities do not generally match its aspirations and the police, north and south, have had a number of welcome successes against it."

INLA mural
The organisation continues to raise funds through the smuggling and distribution of tobacco and it has demanded protection money from foreign workers

The commission was unable to attribute a number of incidents to specific groups but believed dissidents were behind forcing a delivery van driver at gunpoint to drive his vehicle with a bomb on board to a police station in Londonderry.

Dissidents also attacked Protestant schools, gospel and Orange halls in Ballymena and Loughgiel in July.

Oglaigh na hEireann, a small dissident group which emerged in 2005, remained active trying to recruit members and obtain weapons.

It was also behind a number of bomb hoaxes.

As the Provisional IRA pursued its strategy of ending paramilitary activity over the past six months, the report noted the emergence of a maverick faction, the Republican Defence Army, at the graveside of a republican in the north west in June.

"We think the RDA is a small local grouping with limited wider appeal," the commission said.

The IMC said the Irish National Liberation Army remained committed to its "no first strike policy" and did not appear to be capable of a sustained campaign.

"Its level of activity is low," the report said.

"Its members have undertaken shootings and assaults against those they believe to be acting anti-socially or to be involved in drug dealing.

"In March it told a number of people to leave their homes and in April it was responsible for an arson attack.

"The organisation continues to raise funds through the smuggling and distribution of tobacco and it has demanded protection money from foreign workers."

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