Royal Wedding: Brits Worry Irish Terrorists May Target Kate and William

Future royal couple presents tempting target for resurgent Irish terror group.

ByABC News
April 18, 2011, 7:01 AM

April 18, 2011— -- The wedding next week of Prince William and Kate Middleton presents a tempting target for a small group of resurgent Irish terrorists responsible for more than 40 significant terror attacks over the last year, senior British security officials tell ABC News.

While there is no specific threat of any organized plot against the wedding, officials say there is "concrete intelligence" that one Irish group, calling itself the Real IRA, has been trying to move its operations beyond Northern Ireland to London.

"It is fair to assume that people are worried about an attack on the mainland," said Mark Hamilton, chief superintendent of the policed service in Northern Ireland.

The British officials in charge of countering domestic terrorism, MI5, have recently increased surveillance of suspected Irish terror leaders, shifted resources from al Qaeda to the Irish groups and raised the threat level of Irish-related terrorism from moderate to substantial.

"There is a massive effort by the intelligence services and the police to track these people down," said superintendent Hamilton.

Largely unnoticed outside of the United Kingdom, splinter groups of Irish Republican militants have increasingly ignored the peace agreement reached 13 years ago this week that was meant to end IRA violence.

"I think these people would have no compunction at all about carry out an attack, if they could, on an event like the royal wedding," said Professor Martyn Frampton, a history lecturer at Queen Mary, University of London, and the author of a new report, "The Return of the Militants: Violent Dissident Republicanism."

"Attacks on the mainland, particularly here in London, I think, remain the holy grail for these organizations," said Frampton in an interview broadcast Monday on Good Morning America.

"They would say it is an opportunity to target the British establishment," Frampton added.

Security officials say there are several splinter Irish groups that continue to target police officers and other targets that symbolize their perceived enemy: British rule of Northern Ireland.

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