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Sunday, 30 March 2008

Eight planned assassinations as Gang warfare breaks out in the Crumlin-Drimnagh area

Gardai have linked a number of bomb finds with a major feud between rival Dublin city gangs which has claimed ten lives since 2005.In one of the most significant breakthroughs, the Garda’s Organised Crime Unit discovered two grenades and a high-calibre handgun during a vehicle check in west Dublin earlier thismonth.
Aseries of recent arrests under the auspices of Operation Anvil, which targets armed crime, have led detectives to conclude that several attacks were being planned against a rival gang involving the use of firearms and grenades.
The feuding gangs are based in the Crumlin-Drimnagh area, and have been involved in bloody warfare since a row over seized drugs led to a series of accusations of information being passed to gardai and tit-for-tat killings, which have culminated in at least eight planned assassinations.
But it is the increasing use of home-made bombs by criminals involved in minor disputes which is of most concern to senior gardai. Last week alone there were three bomb finds in central Dublin, including a device left attached to the side of a car outside flats in Pimlico.
Among the concerns that gardai have is the fear that members of the public - in particular, children - will inadvertently detonate a device which they do not realise is a homemade explosive.Describing the threat from recent bombs disabled by the army’s bomb-disposal unit as ‘‘low-grade’’, security risk analyst and former Irish army ranger John Henry said the crude nature of the devices and their deployment suggested that there was ‘‘very fortunately, no significant paramilitary involvement’’.‘‘What we are seeing are really very unsophisticated devices, with none of the components used by expert bomb makers.The natural conclusion is that these devices are made from instructions from the internet,” said Henry, who is the chief executive of Specialist Security Services. ‘‘Their deployment lacks the skill or expertise of trained bomb deployment.”Henry added that this was an indication that the greatest risk of injury caused by such bombs could, in fact, be to members of the public.On a number of occasions, gardai have discovered pipe bombs left in public locations - almost certainly for collection by the criminal gangs who ordered their manufacture.Two such devices were found by a man who was walking his dog in Fairview Park in north Dublin last November. The bombs were left near bushes which are close to a Dublin City Council building and within proximity to a busy pedestrian bridge.Garda forensic experts examined the remnants of the devices after they were made safe. The detonation material was taken from fireworks while the explosive packet was made up of steel screws and bolts. As with several other finds, the bombs in this case were viable but were not primed for detonation.However, despite the poor quality of most of the explosive finds, detectives are concerned that a number of incidents last year included the use of fragmentation grenades, which are military-issue and pose a far greater risk to life than pipe bombs. The grenades most likely originated in the Balkans, though tracing their arrival here is almost impossible.So-called ‘‘frags’’ are designed to kill or maim with maximum effect by propelling fragments of their exterior shell outward at extreme force.
Frag grenades can be used to devastating effect as part of a booby-trap, when the safety pin is removed and the spring-based safety lever is held pressed against another object, such as the steering column of a car, and will not detonate until the foreign object is moved.
Gardai are deeply concerned at the possibility of high-performance military issue explosive devices being freely available to organised criminals here.In one instance, there appears to be a connection between a former INLA activist and the use of frag grenades in a dispute between Dublin-based men. However, Garda intelligence suggests that such military ordnance is not widely in circulation.
Nor is the use of crudely manufactured pipe bombs a purely Dublin phenomenon. Gardai last year discovered a series of pipe bombs outside Limerick city, which they believed were linked to one of the city’s main feuding gangs.
This was not the first time Limerick criminals were shown to have stored explosive devices for use against rivals.


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