Police in Northern Ireland have warned against the risk of possible attacks by dissident republican groups ahead of the 25th anniversary of the Good Friday Peace Agreement. The British Government raised the terrorist alert to the highest level ("severe risk") last week in the countdown to the anniversary, on April 10, and before the visit of the American president, Joe Biden, who will arrive in Belfast on Tuesday and He will travel to Dublin on Wednesday.
The shooting of Detective John Caldwell, seriously wounded before his own son's eyes on February 22 in Omagh, has revived concerns about further outbreaks of violence in Ulster. Fifteen people have been arrested to date for their alleged involvement in the attack, claimed by the New IRA, created in 2012 after the merger of various republican dissident groups that do not accept the Good Friday Agreement.
The political crisis has also contributed to aggravating the situation in recent weeks. The Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) has refused to accept the Windsor Agreement, backed by the rest of the political forces to resolve the friction created by Brexit. The DUP was also the only major party that did not sign the Good Friday Agreement.
The unionist force, which has gone from being the first to the second most voted after the victory of the republican party Sinn Fèin a year ago, has refused to form part of a "unity government", which has left the Assembly of Stormont is in limbo and has created a power vacuum situation.
DUP leader Jeffrey Donaldson has however denied that his party's decision contributed to the new threat of violence in Ulster. "As long as the government was running, and for years, these groups have practiced violence and have been killing police officers," Donaldson told BBC radio.
The local police say they have received reliable information from the intelligence services regarding possible terrorist attacks in the coming days, as well as street violence in Derry, a stronghold of republican dissident groups.
"We are in exceptional circumstances," acknowledged the chief commissioner of Northern Ireland Simon Byrne, who confirmed the mobilization of dozens of agents on the front line, fearing outbreaks of violence. "We are going to have a long and particularly hectic weekend," said Deputy Commissioner Bobby Singleton, who expressed his concern above all about incidents of street violence in Derry such as those that caused the death of journalist Lyra McKee in the Week Santa of 2019.
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