After nearly a year without incidents, the Real IRA has launched a bomb attack in central London. The target was an easy, high-profile civilian target, the BBC. One person was slightly injured in the attack. The aim was not to provoke human casualties, but to mark a political position. Two coded messages had previously been sent to police to clear the area. This attack is a clear message that the Real IRA can attack when and where they want and the fact is that the BBC building is near Buckingham Palace, official residence of Queen Elizabeth II. As for the Real IRA, this is a splinter faction from the IRA (whose President is Gerry Adams), which, together with another faction, the Continuity IRA, do not want a ceasefire. These groups believe that the IRA betrayed their cause when it signed the Good Friday Agreement which brought Sinn Fein, the political wing of the IRA, into Stormont, the local assembly in Northern Ireland, where members of all political parties together discuss policies to govern the province. David Capitanchik, anti-terrorism expert from the University of Robert Gordon, Aberdeen, stated that the Real IRA can probably count on several hundred supporters but should have no more than a few tens of active operators. He claims this attack is a clear signal from this group that it cannot be ignored and must be negotiated with in any peace process. It is thought that if the Members of the Legislative Assembly in Northern Ireland do not take this group more seriously, further, more dramatic attacks will be launched, maybe causing deaths. In the last 30 years, more than 3,000 people have died as a result of terrorism perpetrated by Republicans (pro-integration in the Republic of Ireland) and Unionists (who want to maintain union with the UK). JOHN ASHTEAD, PRAVDA.RU, LONDON

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