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Report: Irish militants vow to target bankers

The Real IRA is threatening to attack British banks and bankers, a U.K. newspaper reported Wednesday.
/ Source: msnbc.com

The Real IRA is threatening to attack British banks and bankers, a U.K. newspaper reported Wednesday.

The dissident republican organization, which has about 100 members, told the Guardian newspaper that it had "regrouped and reorganized" following a "turbulent period".  The group said it was now preparing to attack "military, political and economic targets."

The Real IRA has ignored the 1998 peace accord which led to members of the republican Sinn Fein party joining Northern Ireland's devolved government. The deal also sparked cease-fires by the main IRA groups.

Former Provisional IRA leader Martin McGuinness is now Northern Ireland's deputy first minister.

However, in a number of written answers to questions submitted by the Guardian, the Real IRA said it planned to launch a new campaign.

"The role of bankers and the institutions they serve in financing Britain's colonial and capitalist system has not gone unnoticed," the Real IRA said.

"Let's not forget that the bankers are the next-door neighbors of the politicians," it added. "Most people can see the picture: the bankers grease the politicians' palms, the politicians bail out the bankers with public funds, the bankers pay themselves fat bonuses and loan the money back to the public with interest. It's essentially a crime spree that benefits a social elite at the expense of many millions of victims."

The remarks were not attributed to an individual by the newspaper.

"Realistically, it is important to acknowledge that we have regrouped and reorganized and emerged from a turbulent period in republican history," the group added, according to the paper. "We have already shown our capacity to launch attacks on the British military, judicial, and policing infrastructure. As we rebuild, we are confident that we will increase the volume and effectiveness of attacks."

Despite the threats, security sources told the Guardian that the Real IRA did not appear to have adequate resources to mount the kind of attacks which devastated London in the 1990s.

The Real IRA also complained that there was still "5,000-strong British army garrison" in Northern Ireland.

"Republican communities are still subjected to sectarian parades and the right to protest is being met with intimidation and violence," the group told the Guardian.

The group added it was not in talks with the British or the Republic of Ireland's governments.

"The IRA is not unwilling to talk, in fact there needs to be talks," the group told the Guardian. "However, talks need to deal with the root cause of the conflict, namely the illegal British occupation of Ireland. We are mindful, though, that the history of such approaches from the British has been characterized by a lack of integrity, a lack of willingness to address the causes of conflict, and has been motivated by a self-serving agenda."

The group also attacked McGuinness, saying his job was "to administer the Queen of England's writ in Ireland" and claimed he had "a vested interest in causing mischief among republicans."