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    Police officers cordon off the territory near the UK Parliament in London where an assailant attacked a police officer and pedestrians.

    Armed Militants in the UK, Who Are They?

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    Britain has long had to contend with Islamist terror groups, militants opposed to UK sovereignty in Northern Ireland and even militants in favour of it.

    The Basque guerrilla group ETA on Thursday announced its final dissolution, bringing to an end more than four decades of terrorist attacks and targeted killings in pursuit of a Basque homeland in northern Spain.

    Over the same period, the United Kingdom has had to face the reality of constant terrorist attacks from a number of sources, killing hundreds of people and stretching the resources of the services trying to combat such groups.

    Continuity Irish Republican Army (CIRA)

    Like ETA which reportedly only amounted to a few hundred individuals, most of whom were imprisoned, the CIRA is believed to number at just around 50 members. Calling itself the armed forces of the Republic of Ireland, with which it seeks to join the country of Northern Ireland, the group became active in 1994 after the Irish Republican Army (IRA) accepted a provisional ceasefire with the UK government that eventually led to the Good Friday Accords in 1998.

    Volunteers from the Continuity Irish Republican Army,(CIRA) who are currently not on ceasefire hold a show of strength early Saturday in the mainly Catholic Beechmount area of west Belfast, Northern Ireland . The terror group issued a warning Sunday July 11, 2004, that if Catholics are attacked by Protestant terrorist groups then their armed reaction would be calculated and immediate
    © AP Photo / Peter Morrison
    Volunteers from the Continuity Irish Republican Army,(CIRA) who are currently not on ceasefire hold a show of strength early Saturday in the mainly Catholic Beechmount area of west Belfast, Northern Ireland . The terror group issued a warning Sunday July 11, 2004, that if Catholics are attacked by Protestant terrorist groups then their armed reaction would be calculated and immediate

    Because of its size, the group's activities were mainly restricted to shootings, attempted kidnappings of police and security force members and the planting of explosives, most recently in 2005. It remains an illegal organization in Britain, comprising hard-core former IRA members and is believed to operate primarily in the provinces of Ulster and Munster.

    Irish National Liberation Army (INLA)

    Also a small-scale militant organization which participated in the Troubles that rocked Britain from the 1960s to the late 90s, INLA formed by breaking away from the IRA due to its rejection of the 1994 ceasefire. Operating mainly out of the city of Belfast, the group's most spectacular success came in 1979 when it assassinated Airey Neave, the Conservative Party spokesman for Northern Ireland, in a car-bombing at the Palace of Westminster in London.

    INLA members in Bogside, Derry
    CC0 / Joel Högberg
    INLA members in Bogside, Derry

    The Marxist-Leninist Irish Republican group INLA, like ETA has been in a state of ceasefire with the British state since the Good Friday Agreement and formally ended its armed struggle in 2009. It remains in existence however, calling for a unitary socialist Irish republic.

    Ulster Defence Association (UDA)

    As well as Irish Republicanism, Britain has faced violence from those radically devoted to Northern Ireland remaining a part of the United Kingdom. The Ulster Defence Association which also abandoned its armed struggle against Irish Republican militants in 2007 when it reportedly still had 7,000 active members.

    Under the watchful eyes of armed British troops, members of the Ulster Defence Association parade through Belfast, Northern Ireland in August 1972
    © AP Photo /
    Under the watchful eyes of armed British troops, members of the Ulster Defence Association parade through Belfast, Northern Ireland in August 1972

    At its height in the early 1970s, the group fielded approximately 40,000 members and primarily targeted Irish Catholics of whom it killed approximately 400 during its armed struggle.

    Babbar Khalsa

    While not calling for autonomy or an independent state on the territory of the United Kingdom itself, the Sikh nationalist group Babbar Khalsa has long used Britain as a base of operations for its campaign for Sikh autonomy in the Punjab region of India.

    It's most spectacular operation was the 1985 terrorist bombing of Air India Flight 182 off the west coast of Ireland which resulted in the deaths of all 329 passengers and crew and was the largest loss of Canadian life in a terrorist attack ever.

    Irish sailors unload on June 29, 1985 at a navy base in Cork, debris from the Air India Flight 182 that crashed off the coast of Ireland on June 23. The Boeing 747 was blown up by a bomb at an altitude of 31,000 feet (9400 metres), killing 329 people
    © AFP 2019 / ANDRE DURAND
    Irish sailors unload on June 29, 1985 at a navy base in Cork, debris from the Air India Flight 182 that crashed off the coast of Ireland on June 23. The Boeing 747 was blown up by a bomb at an altitude of 31,000 feet (9400 metres), killing 329 people

    The group is now based in Vancouver Canada and is a proscribed terror organization in Britain, the US and India.

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    Tags:
    Irish Question, militant group, bombing campaign, terrorism, IRA, ETA, Ulster, Northern Ireland, United Kingdom, Ireland
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