Irish terrorists may be planning a new offensive on mainland Britain as the General Election nears, according to a leaked government security warning.
Senior civil servants have been alerted to the possibility of strikes by dissident republican groups such as the Real IRA, which was responsible for the Omagh bomb outrage in 1998 which killed 29 people.
The memo has been issued by security chiefs in London who fear the Real IRA or Continuity IRA could be heading the new offensive.
The alert, circulated to selected security staff at government installations, including the Government Communications Headquarters, the electronic surveillance arm of UK intelligence services, warns of a "substantial" threat from Irish terrorists.
The memo, headed ‘Restricted Information’ reads:
"Reporting indicates Irish republican dissidents are currently planning attacks on the UK mainland.
"Incendiary and small [improvised explosive devices] attacks have featured prominently in recent dissident republican campaigns in Northern Ireland, as have postal devices and shooting attacks. The threat from dissident Irish republicans in the UK mainland is assessed to be: Substantial Level 3."
The Independent Monitoring Commission, a government body, claims that although the level of paramilitary violence has considerably reduced, the threat remains at a high level.