Northern Ireland police issue warning of increased IRA threat to disrupt Christmas shopping

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BELFAST, Northern Ireland — Northern Ireland's police say they are increasing security in the run-up to Christmas to combat an increasing threat from Irish Republican Army bombers.

Assistant Chief Constable Will Kerr said Monday that police would mount road checkpoints on key Belfast roads in hopes of deterring the kinds of attacks that rattled Belfast before Christmas last year.

He said IRA militants hoped to damage Northern Ireland's economy during its busiest shopping season.

Last year's attacks in the weeks before Christmas injured only an IRA member who accidentally set fire to himself while planting an incendiary bomb. Another small bomb exploded near a strip of restaurants and pubs, and a car bomb failed to detonate outside Belfast's fanciest shopping mall.

Most IRA members renounced violence in 2005, but small die-hard factions remain active.

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