UK raises terrorism threat in Northern Ireland ahead of Biden visit

 Wednesday, March 29, 2023 


The United Kingdom government has raised the terrorism threat level in Northern Ireland to “severe” ahead of an anticipated visit by US President Joe Biden to mark the 25th anniversary of a peace accord.

The domestic agency MI5 has upgraded the level from “substantial” to “severe”, indicating that an attack is “highly likely”.

This move follows the recent shooting of a police officer in front of his son. Northern Ireland Secretary Chris Heaton-Harris stressed that although the Good Friday Agreement of 1998 had transformed Northern Ireland, a small number of people remained determined to cause politically motivated violence. He also called on the public to remain vigilant but not alarmed.

President Biden is expected to visit Northern Ireland as part of his trip to Ireland to commemorate the peace agreement. However, Heaton-Harris did not draw a link between the raised threat level and the planned visit.

The anniversary comes amid political unrest as pro-UK unionists refuse to re-enter government due to their objection to the post-Brexit trade deal agreed between London and the European Union. The more extreme militants in the pro-UK camp have also warned of the consequences of the deal, which they claim puts Northern Ireland at risk of political and economic separation from Great Britain.

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