The UK’s domestic counterintelligence and security agency, MI5, has raised its terrorist threat level in Northern Ireland from ‘substantial’ to ‘severe’. This means that there is a high probability of attack.
The decision, announced by UK Secretary of State for Northern Ireland Chris Heaton Harris on Tuesday, comes days before President Biden’s visit to the country. Biden’s visit coincides with the anniversary of the Good Friday Accord, also known as the Belfast Accord, which ended decades of sectarian violence between Republicans and trade unionists in Ireland.
Heaton-Harris told CNN the move came after an increase in “activity linked to Northern Ireland-linked terrorism”.
In late February, Chief Inspector John Caldwell, a prominent police officer in the country, was shot several times in front of his son and other children at a sports complex in Omagh, Tyrone.
According to CNN, at the time of the attack, Northern Ireland police said the force was focused on “violent opposition Republicans” and many people had been arrested since the attack.
Biden told reporters earlier this month that he planned to visit British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak after meeting with him. Sunak was in California at the time, where he, along with Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, formalized the AUKUS security agreement.
“It’s a great honor to be here. I look forward to our conversation. And most importantly, I invite you to Northern Ireland. I hope you can. If you do, the Good Friday Agreement We can commemorate the anniversary of ‘Biden’ at the time,” he said. “I know it’s very special and personal to you. I would love to meet you.”
Biden said, “25 years. Like yesterday. Like yesterday. Thank you.”
It is unclear whether the rising threat level of terrorism will affect Mr. Biden’s plans to visit Japan.
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