'IRA' claims responsibility for devices sent to Army offices

A group calling itself the IRA has claimed it was behind devices sent to armed forces recruitment centres last week, Scotland Yard said. Packages were discovered at army careers offices in Oxford, Brighton, Canterbury and Slough yesterday.

'Attacks will continue when and where the IRA see fit'

A group calling itself the IRA have said attacks will "continue when and where" it sees fit after claiming responsibility for sending suspect packages sent to armed forces recruitment offices last week.

"The IRA claims responsibility for the explosive devices that were sent to British armed forces recruitment centres in England. Attacks will continue when and where the IRA see fit," the statement to the Irish News read.

The Army Careers office in Canterbury, Kent, one of the armed forces recruitment offices where suspected explosive devices were found. Credit: PA Wire

Four suspected explosive devices were found at Army careers offices in Oxford, Brighton, Canterbury and the Queensmere shopping centre in Slough last Thursday.

Scotland Yard said the group, using a recognised codeword, had contacted a media outlet in Northern Ireland on Saturday.

Police: 'IRA' packages claim received by NI media

A group calling itself the IRA claimed responsibility for sending devices to army recruitment centres by contacting a Northern Irish media outlet on Saturday, police have said.

A Metropolitan Police statement read:

We are aware of the claim of responsibility for the devices that were sent to army recruitment centres in England last week.

The claim was received on Saturday, 15 February by a Northern Irish media outlet using a recognised codeword.

The claim was allegedly made on behalf of the 'IRA'.

The public is urged to remain vigilant and report anything suspicious to the Anti-Terrorist Hotline 0800 789 321.

Read: Suspect packages contained explosive black powder

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Dissident Republicans 'hell-bent on turning clock back'

Shadow Northern Ireland secretary Ivan Lewis speaking on Daybreak. Credit: ITV/Daybreak

Dissident Republicans are "hell-bent on turning the clock back" on the peace process, shadow Northern Ireland minister Ivan Lewis told Daybreak, after Downing Street warned that suspicious packages found at armed forces recruitment offices bore "hallmarks of Northern Ireland-related terrorism".

"Let's make it clear they speak for nobody in Northern Ireland in wanting to turn the clock back on the peace process," Mr Lewis said.

"They are hellbent on turning the clock back to the violence. Whatever the difficulties in Northern Ireland, and there remains some around parades and the flags and the past, nobody on any side of the sectarian divide wants to turn the clock back to the troubles and the trauma of the violence."

Read: Suspect packages found at locations across South East

Suspect packages contained explosive black powder

The suspect packages sent to Army Careers offices were in A4-sized envelopes, postmarked Ireland, contained black powder which was explosive and if ignited would have caused flash burns, ITV News' Juliet Bremner understands.

However, the officers who discovered the suspect packages are not certain that they would have exploded.

This indicates that Irish dissident groups were very likely behind the attack.

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Police: Found packages 'pose a very low level threat'

An officer from the South East Counter Terrorism Unit has said that the packages left near a number of armed forces recruitment offices "pose a very low level threat and are unlikely to cause significant harm or damage".

Detective Superintendent Stan Gilmour said the contents of the packages were being sent for forensic examination.

He added: "When a suspect package is reported we have a routine response which means we may need to evacuate the area if necessary until we can be sure it poses no threat to the public."

'Low-level but viable' threat to army offices probed

Counter-terrorism police are investigating reports of suspect packages being found at army careers offices.

Packages have been found in Canterbury, Oxford, Slough and Brighton, while similar packages were found earlier in the week in Aldershot, Reading and Chatham, the south east counter terrorism unit said.

Police officers consider the situation a "low-level threat" but "viable", sources said.

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