Anti-terrorist branch detectives believe the two incendiary devices found in a linen and bedding shop on Saturday evening were planted after the series of firebombs which were discovered in three other shops on Thursday and Friday.
Scotland Yard say all stores in the area should be on the lookout for IRA bombers and the devices - which are often concealed in soft furnishings or clothes. But officers said the public should not assume that the terrorists will avoid other forms of attack. The incendiaries are the first IRA attacks in Britain since last month's Downing Street declaration on the future of Ireland. The first of the two latest firebombs were discovered on Saturday evening after the shop, Nightingales, had closed. Police were called and during a search a second incendiary ignited, causing a small fire. Part of Oxford Street was closed for a time.
Last Thursday morning, small firebombs ignited in C & A, Mothercare and Silverdale, a travel goods shop, causing some damage. On Friday morning, another ignited in C & A and, later in the day, a further device was discovered and defused in Mothercare. Police believe all were planted together, probably late on Wednesday.
The outlawed loyalist Ulster Freedom Fighters yesterday claimed responsibility for planting firebombs in Dublin stores. Devices in cigarette packets were discovered in two shops near O'Connell Street on Saturday night.