Police in Northern Ireland have thwarted an IRA terror bomb plot intended to disrupt President Biden’s upcoming visit to Belfast on Tuesday, it was revealed Sunday.
Members of the paramilitary group, the New IRA, were allegedly looking to purchase bomb parts in Derry and scheming to build an explosive device to disrupt Biden’s diplomatic stopover, The Belfast Telegraph reported.
“They were looking for parts to make a bomb,” a source told the newspaper.
“The belief is that the New IRA was planning some sort of attack to coincide with Biden’s visit, similar to the mortar attack on the cops in Strabane last November.”
Last November, the group claimed responsibility for detonating a roadside bomb targeting a police vehicle in County Tyrone. Two cops escaped injury when the bomb exploded next to their car.
Thomas Mellon, the leader of the New IRA, wanted a “spectacular” way to undermine Biden’s visit, according to reports.
“He wanted to have a spectacular, but with all the PSNI raids and Brit searches it’s likely he will have to settle for a riot on Easter Monday,” the source said.
Mellon is on the terror watchlist of MI5, the United Kingdom’s counter-intelligence agency.
Biden will visit Belfast on Tuesday to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the US-brokered Good Friday Agreement. The historic pact reached in 1998 ended decades of sectarian fighting between Catholics and Protestants in Northern Ireland, known as the Troubles.
Former President Bill Clinton, who played a major role in negotiating the deal, also is expected to attend.
Biden will also attend a series of other events in Ireland in County Louth and County Mayo, where the president’s has ancestral roots.
The president also is scheduled to deliver a public address at St. Muredach’s Cathedral in Ballina, County Mayo on April 14.
The New IRA is an offshoot of the Irish Republican Army group, which disbanded following the Good Friday agreement.
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