Ulster: Irish terror alert tightens security at the Dome

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The Independent Online
EXTRA SECURITY has been installed at the Millennium Dome in response to warnings from Scotland Yard and MI5 that the multi-million-pound project is among the most likely targets for a terrorist attack by dissident Irish republicans.

The Metropolitan Police warned yesterday that there were concerns about a possible bombing campaign across Britain in the run-up to Christmas. A nationwide security alert has been issued in response to intelligence from anti-terrorist officers and MI5.

Extra police patrols and highly visible security measures have been put in place in sensitive areas such as the City of London, Docklands and Westminster. Cities that have suffered terrorist attacks in the past, such as Manchester, have also been put on alert. And individual targets, including senior military and political figures, have been warned of the threat of assassination.

The Dome, near Greenwich, south-east London, which will host a celebrity party on New Year's Eve, is thought to be a prestigious target for terrorists.

A police source said yesterday: "Historically Irish republican groups always hit unusual targets. We assess what are the key locations. There are significant security measures in place at the Dome."

Earlier in the day Scotland Yard issued this statement: "There is a genuine and credible concern about the increased threat of violence not only in Ireland but also on the British mainland from breakaway renegade groups who are opposed to the Irish peace process.

"Any suspicious telephone calls or threats should be brought to the attention of the police immediately, and businesses should ensure their CCTV systems are operating properly."

The threat assessment was made by MI5, which has stressed that the decision to increase the level of security was based on general intelligence about dissident groups rather than information on specific units or operations in Britain.

Posters are to be released soon, urging people to be on their guard for potential terrorist threats.

Security reviews have indicated that the threat from groups opposed to the peace process is at its highest since last year's Omagh bombing, which killed 29 people.