Police in Northern Ireland warned yesterday that terrorists are planning Easter gun and bomb attacks ahead of Joe BidenVisiting Assistant Police Chief Bobby Singleton said officers have “very strong community intelligence” that groups like the dissident New IRA will attack.

Terrorists are expected to target police officers, military personnel and prison staff and their families as the US President helps mark the 25th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement.

The Northern Ireland Police Service has recruited an additional 300 officers from other parts of Great Britain as
part of an operation codenamed Inspire.

Singleton said they fear more violence could be sparked by the Monday anniversary of the 1916 Easter Rising. He added: “We have real concern that there is potential for public disorder there.”

He said the force is “ready for whatever happens in Derry/Londonderry on Monday.” Police Chief Simon Byrne said: “The style of attack we are dealing with is gun and bomb attacks by a small number of determined dissident terrorists.”

Just a few weeks ago, MI5 raised Ulster’s terror threat level to serious, meaning an attack is very likely.

In February, Senior Detective John Caldwell suffered life-changing injuries after being shot multiple times during a suspected New IRA assassination attempt in Omagh, County Tyrone.

The Easter holidays also turned out to be the green light for the riots in which journalist Lyra McKee, 29, was shot dead in London-derry four years ago. The New IRA has admitted that its members were responsible.

Lyra’s ex-partner, Sara Canning, said yesterday her “heart sinks” at the news of more violence, adding: “I can’t say I’m surprised.

“It is what we are used to, which is a sad state of affairs 25 years after the Good Friday Agreement.

“These people need to realize that their time is up, the support for them is gone.

“We want to move on and we want our children to have a better life than ours.”

Gerry Kelly, a police spokesman for Sinn Fein, dismissed the Republican paramilitaries as “a small number of people trying to reverse the peace process.”

He stated that “the vast majority of people in the North, in Ireland and elsewhere are absolutely against them.”

Meanwhile, the gates that allow traffic to move between the republican and loyalist areas of Belfast during limited hours of the day were painted over with a mural yesterday ahead of the 25th anniversary.

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