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PIPE BOMB KILLERS PLANNING ATTACKS IN REPUBLIC; Terrorists in secret meetings.

CRAZED loyalist killers behind a pipe-bomb terror campaign in the North are set to launch dozens of attacks in the Republic, security sources said last night.

Sunday People has learned that a tro of shadowy terror groups met in secret in recent days to discuss a comprehensive bombing plan.

The Red Hand Defenders, Orange Volunteers and now the Ulster Resistance groups have teamed up to draw up the murder plans.

Security chiefs fear the addition of the Ulster Resistance to the terror plan may give `activists' the capability to launch car bomb attacks south of the Border.

Sunday People has learned that RUC officers have warned Gardai of the `volatile' situation within extreme loyalism at the moment.

Attacks will be co-ordinated to take place in the run-up to the Drumcree parade, planned for July 4.

Security sources say the loyalist plan is `incredibly similar' to a foiled UDA plot 10 years ago.

That crazed scheme - called Operation Snowball - involved setting off bombs in Dublin and other major cities like Limerick, Galway and Cork.

Our source told us last night: "Normally we would treat such threats with a fair degree of scepticism.

"But the Ulster Resistance group has effectively taken control of dissident loyalism in Mid-Ulster and it is they who will be pulling the strings and orchestrating violence across Northern Ireland in the run-up to Drumcree.

"We believe that there are members of the Ulster Resistance who know how to assemble and make car bombs. That is our worry.

"They want to take the Drumcree issue south of the border this year."

Even an attempted attack in the south could have a catastrophic effect on tourism this summer.

RUC officers have already drawn up contingency plans to deal with widespread street disturbances in the North.

Violence only wained last year after the sectarian murders of the three Quinn brothers in a petrol bomb attack in Ballymoney.

Many Orangemen who had taken part in street protests quit within hours of that horror.

But the hardline dissidents have remained unmoved by the Ballymoney murders - or other acts of violence.

Billy Hutchinson, a member of the pro-Agreement Progressive Unionist Party, told Sunday People: "These people are living in the past.

"I think they are capable of getting their hands on the materials necessary.

"But I am not convinced they have the know-how when it comes to attacks in the south."

But he added: "You can't rule anything out. It's just unfortunate that there are still people who want to fight to settle differences, rather than talk."
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Author:May, Fiona
Publication:The People (London, England)
Date:Jun 20, 1999
Words:423
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