A young officer in the Police Service of Northern Ireland was killed by a bomb attached underneath his car as he drove to work in Omagh, County Tyrone. Details are provided in an article by the Guardian. Unfortunately, dissident Republican terrorists appear to be determined to disrupt the power sharing agreement between Catholics and Protestants in Northern Ireland. While there were several years of relative peace in Northern Ireland, it appears, potentially, to be drawing near a close as the terrorists have attempted several bombings and shootings in the last year.
We recommend that tourists considering travel to Northern Ireland to exercise caution during their journey, as the danger from Republican terrorists appears to be increasing in frequency and intensity.
It’s has been a tough month for Tourism and October appears to be ending like it started. In addition to all of the strikes across Europe, particularly those in France and Italy, terrorism has once again reared its ugly head in Europe and the Mideast.
A suicide bomber attacked Taksim Square in Istanbul, wounding 32 people. Taksim Square, Istanbul’s main square, is located close to several upscale hotels. The square is a noted meeting place and is often frequented by tourists because it is a major transportation hub. Taksim Square is located across the Galata Bridge and away from the main tourism area of the city. No organization has claimed responsibility, although it is thought that the Kurdish separatist militants are behind the incident. Authorities in Istanbul are vigilant about tourism and it is to be noted that fifteen of the wounded were police, as the terrorist appears to have focused the attack on the police stationed around the square.
Repercussions from the explosive packages shipped from Yemen to the United States seem bound to cause an investigation on security checks for air-freight packages that are shipped around the world. It has been rumored that one of the packages involved in the recent controversy was shipped on a passenger plane and that the sophisticated devices were designed to bring down aircraft.
Overall, we think establishing best practices on safety for parcel and package shipping is a good idea, but if freight is banned from passenger flights, the expense of our tickets will surely go up.
In Northern Ireland police disarmed two bombs, one near Belfast Airport, in a sign that Northern Ireland may be slipping back in to the “troubles”. Due to the presence of another bomb that required defusing, the railway connecting Belfast and Dublin was closed for 24 hours.
In the only piece of good news for travelers over the weekend, was the speculation that the days of the ETA Basque Separatist Movement in Spain may be drawing to a close, although we have heard these rumors several times in the past. See Yahoo News for more information.
As those of you who have read our travel advice at ThereArePlaces know, we advise that travelers keep a low profile when traveling and avoid large crowds when possible. We continue to regard travel as the best prescription the doctor can order!
The Republic of Ireland’s Justice Minister indicated that the threat of attacks by dissident Republicans in Northern Ireland is now as high as at any time during the thirty years of the “The Troubles”. See this story for more details.
For those of you unfamililar with the situation, there are many factions in Northern Ireland that are not in favor of reconciliation between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. Religion and political persuasion are cited as the major differences causing “The Troubles”.
The attacks by various dissident groups increased dramatically in 2009, although the actions have been confined to Northern Ireland. Those of you planning travel in the Republic of Ireland should experience no difficulty with “The Troubles. However, if you are going to travel in the north of the Republic and want cross into Northern Ireland to explore Belfast, the Giants’s Causeway or the Bushmill’s distillery, you should exercise caution in the portion of your travels inside of the borders of Northern Ireland. Check local news, avoid towns where there has been recent activity and avoid any area planning a parade.
Well, it took just two days for a splinter group of the IRA to cause more trouble for Northern Ireland. A police officer responding to a call in Craigavon, County Armagh was shot through the rear window of his car as he arrived to provide help to a woman who had called for assistance. He died of his injuries and the killing was claimed by the Continuity IRA. For more information, including a map of the location, see this article by the BBC.
The IRA splinter groups are unhappy with the progress of the Peace Process and seem intent on causing more trouble in the future. Visitors to Northern Ireland should exercise caution.
Northern Ireland has seen a re-emergence of violence over the weekend, which may be a new phase of “The Troubles”. Solidiers accepting a pizza delivery and the lads delivering the pizza to the Massereene barracks near Antrim, Northern Ireland (northwest of Belfast) were attacked by gunmen firing automated weapons. Two solidiers were killed, while the delivery personnel and two soldiers were wounded. It was reported that the solidiers who died, had been wounded were then executed by a second shooter as they lay incapacitated.
Apparenly the attack was claimed by the “Real” Ira, a group that separated from the IRA, when the main group decided to support the Easter Sunday Peace Initiative, several years ago.
Anyone considering travel in Northern Ireland should pay close attention to this situation, as it has a nasty habit of involving innocent bystanders.
See the BBC Website for more details on the attack and its probable background.