Terror chiefs plan vote day bomb strike

2 May 2010 
The News of the World

Fears were growing that dissident republicans are planning a terror attack in the run up to Thursday's election. Cop checkpoints were increased across Northern Ireland from Friday in a bid by security forces to prevent any bomb attacks.

Security sources reckon the thugs behind two recent bombs in Newry and Holywood, Co Down are set to strike with a left-over supply of explosives.

And they think they could coincide an attack with a Belfast trial which begins on Tuesday, where two men are accused of an alleged Real IRA plot to smuggle huge amounts of weapons into Northern Ireland.

One senior source said: "Their thinking is that the closer to the election, the more they'll be able to dominate headlines. "There is also the danger that they will want to mark a trial of dissident suspects with a spectacular attack."

PSNI Deputy Chief Constable Judith Gillespie echoed the chilling warning. She said: "We are very alive to this possibility. We want to make sure that everybody goes about their democratic right to vote in a way that protects their safety and protects their security."

Earlier this month cruel dissidents held a terrified taxi driver's family hostage and then forced him to drive a bomb to the M15 headquarters in Holywood. No one was injured in the blast — which coincided with the transfer of policing powers to Stormont.

In February a car bomb went off outside Newry courthouse. No one was hurt.

On Tuesday Desmond Kearns, 45, and Paul McCaugherty, 43, both from Lurgan, Co Armagh, face charges of conspiring to possess weapons between 2005 and 2006.

On the same day Michael Dermot, 41, from Crossmaglen will go on trial accused of making the deeds of a restaurant in Portugal available for terrorism.  (Blogger note: the restaurant was located in Alvor, Portugal)

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