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New IRA claims it sent letter bomb to Aldershot army office

A group claiming to be the IRA has admitted sending a number of devices to army careers offices including one in Hospital Hill in Aldershot

A group claiming to be the IRA has said it sent a letter bomb to Aldershot’s army careers offices last week.

The Metropolitan Police said the group made the claim to newspaper in Northern Ireland on Saturday February 15 using a recognised codeword.

A suspected letter bomb delivered to Aldershot Army Careers Centre is one of seven incidents being investigated. The 'suspect package' was delivered to the centre, in Hospital Hill, on February 12 and a Ministry of Defence (MoD) bomb disposal unit was deployed to the scene at around midday to 'make it safe'.

Three more similar packages were delivered to army careers offices in Oxford, Brighton, Canterbury and Slough's Queensmere Shopping Centre on February 13. These added to packages sent to offices in Reading and Chatham, Kent, two days earlier.

On Monday February 17 a Metropolitan Police spokesman said it was aware of the IRA’s claim of responsibility for the devices.

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

“The claim was allegedly made on behalf of the ‘IRA’.”

The Irish News said the statement read: “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 South East Counter Terrorism Unit (SECTU) is investigating the incidents.

Last week a spokesman for No 10 Downing Street said the ‘small, crude, but potentially viable devices bearing the hallmarks of Northern Ireland-related terrorism’ had all been safely dealt with by police.

Detective Superintendent Stan Gilmour at the SECTU said: "The contents of the packages are suspicious in nature and will now be sent off for forensic examination.

"Even if the contents are determined to be a viable device they pose a very low level threat and are unlikely to cause significant harm or damage.

The IRA – also known as the New IRA – was formed in 2012 after former members of the Real IRA joined forces with a vigilante group called Republican Action Against Drugs.

Advice has been sent to the Royal Mail and to the MoD to ensure staff remain vigilant and contact police if they have any concerns about packages. Screening procedures for mail sent to armed forces offices are also being reviewed.

 
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