UK

Army Packages: Group Calling Itself IRA Claims Responsibility

17/02/2014 12:17 GMT | Updated 17/02/2014 12:59 GMT
GLYN KIRK via Getty Images
A Royal Navy bomb disposal unit works at the scene where a suspect package was delivered at an Army recruitment office in Brighton, southern England on February 13, 2014. British counter-terrorism police said Thursday they were dealing with a series of suspect packages sent to a string of armed forces recruitment offices. Bomb disposal units have been called to deal with the packages, sent to at least six offices in southeast England, with police sources saying there was a 'low-level' but 'viable' threat. Packages have been sent to offices in Aldershot, Chatham, Brighton, Oxford, Reading, Slough. AFP PHOTO / GLYN KIRK (Photo credit should read GLYN KIRK/AFP/Getty Images)

A group calling itself the IRA has claimed it was behind devices sent to armed forces recruitment centres last week, Scotland Yard said.

Scotland Yard said a group using a recognised codeword had contacted a media outlet in Northern Ireland on Saturday.

Four suspected explosive devices were discovered at Army careers offices in Oxford, Brighton, Canterbury and the Queensmere shopping centre in Slough last Thursday.

This followed packets sent to Aldershot, Hampshire, on Wednesday and another two on Tuesday to an armed forces careers office in Reading, Berkshire, and the Army and RAF careers office in Chatham, Kent.

One of the packages bore a Republic of Ireland postmark and Downing Street said the small but potentially viable devices bore "the hallmarks of Northern Ireland-related terrorism".

Scotland Yard said: "We are aware of the claim of responsibility for the devices that were sent to Army recruitment centres in England last week.

"The claim was received on Saturday February 15 by a Northern Irish media outlet using a recognised codeword. The claim was allegedly made on behalf of the 'IRA'.

"The public is urged to remain vigilant and report anything suspicious to the Anti-Terrorist Hotline, 0800 789 321."

The IRA disbanded in the years after it declared an end to its armed campaign in 2005, but a group calling itself the New IRA formed just before the London Olympics in 2012 and was linked to letter bombs sent last autumn.